Dear Ichiroya Newsletter Readers,
Hello everyone! This is Yoko again. Minasan ogenki desuka?
In this newsletter, I would like to talk about the Matsuri event we had over the weekend and also my must-have winter heating device, Kotatsu!
The past weekend, Danjiri Matsuri was held in our town.
It is held once a year in autumn, and it is unlike any other Matsuri with little food stands and Odori dance with Yagura.
This Aki(autumn) Matsuri involves huge wooden floats with lantern illuminations. Mabushii!
Each small section of our town has its own Danjiri float and team, and members pull their float around the town singing and dancing.
Friends, families, and audiences follow and walk behind each float. This continues for three days!!!! Ah-shindoi
A few members sit inside the float with a couple of guys on top of the roof!
One of the men inside sings local folk songs and the others play Matsuri instruments, such as a flute, drum, and bells.
The guys on the roof cheer and instruct the float's direction. (at least I think so...)
Younger members on the ground pull the float and group of girls dance and cheer around it.
These girls are called 'Ledi-su(ladies)' and my daughter is one of the Ledi-su in our section of town.
They wear matched Happi, Momohiki pants, Haramaki and Jika tabi. They work really hard to look very Kawaii together.
Danjiri floats do not look anything similar to Gion floats of Kyoto.
We are more decorative and LOUDER with singing, dancing and cheers.
I am not originally from this area and where I am from, Nara, we do not have the same type of dashy Matsuri...
So to be honest, I do not get the point of enjoyment as much as the locals.
My daughter, on the other hand, 'LOVES' I mean madly in LOVE with the Aki Matsuri.
She starts counting down right after one ends!, like she can't wait for the next one to begin!
She dresses up like a little queen with heavy make up and mass volume hair!!!
I enjoy watching my daughter enjoy the Matsuri, and if I were young like my daughter, I am sure I would make the most of it. (maybe)
Above all, I think it is a good thing to have something in life that can be really enjoyed!! (right?)
Enough about Danjiri!
Now that it is almost end of October, weather is definitely shifting to fall(almost winter?) and it is getting colder by the day!
If you are planning a trip to Japan soon, make sure to bring a jacket! You will definitely need it!
Leaves are changing color beautifully now, and leaves of Kaki(persimmon) and Mikan(orange) trees in my garden are falling.
Kaki are turning orange and getting ready to be pricked soon. Can't wait!
My beagle dog Marin just loves Kaki, and whenever a bad Kaki falls, she runs to it.
I sometimes find her looking up the Kaki tree staring, sniffing and just waiting... so cute. :)
As I am really a Samugari person, sensitive to cold, before the cold winter starts, I am thinking about taking out my Kotatsu table.
Kotatsu is my favorite heating device, but it does not heat up the whole room like central heating system.
It is a wide low table with a heating device inside which is covered by a Futon or heavy blanket.
Once you put your legs inside this table, you will never want to come out!
Almost every household in Japan has Kotatsu, and in my house, Kotatsu becomes where we eat, watch TV, kids study, kids and Marin naps in winter.
So pretty much, it keeps us not just warm but together in cold winter. :)
Do you have a similar place or item as Kotatsu in your country?
The Kotatsu I have is electric and it is really easy to use, just turn on the switch and it heats up quickly inside the table.
But what did people do to stay warm in winter when they did not have electricity or Kotasu?
I found that Kotatsu-like device? has been around in Japan for a very long time, and the very first Kotatsu was invented in Muromachi (Muromachi Period (1392-1573)!
First it was just a small Irori 'fireplace' with a wooden framing around it and put Futon over it.
The fireplace was not like what you are imagining with flaming fire. Nono!
Back then, people mainly used coals, so used coals were placed in an Irori bowl, and supposedly it was at a very comfortable temperature.
No wonder we are fond of Kotatsu! It has been around and keeping us warm and together for centuries!
It is our nature to love Kotatsu! ne?
But on colder days, just the Kotatsu is not warm enough! so, I wear my Dotera with my legs in Kotatsu, then I will be perfect! hahaha
Here are some items you can use in winter, such as Dotera and velvet shawls, to keep you warm and comfortable.
http://www.ichiroya.com/item/list2/344453/ Kimono Coat
http://www.ichiroya.com/item/list2/344455/ Kimono Coat
http://www.ichiroya.com/item/list2/344457/ Kimono Coat
http://www.ichiroya.com/item/list2/344143/ Michiyuki Coat
http://www.ichiroya.com/item/list2/343380/ Michiyuki & Shawl Set
Hope you enjoyed my newsletter! Arigato gozaimasu for reading till the end. :)
Wishing you a lovely new week!