Festival time in Nishiogi  

Sunday, 23 May 2010

This weekend there are festivities happening in our local town centre, Nishi Ogikubo. There doesn’t appear to be anything particularly significant about the date – I think it’s more of an early Summer shopping festival run by the local chamber of commerce. But it doesn’t take much for the locals to get into the festival spirit and any excuse for a parade is usually eagerly grasped. We went along to have a look yesterday evening and to watch the matsuri parade around the main streets near the station. As to be expected, it was a colourful and noisy affair – made even more fun by the presence of a couple of mounted samurai warriors. Not quite sure of the significance, but I must say, they looked very impressive.

On paper, Nishi Ogikubo is a fairly non-descript urban suburb on the western fringes of Tokyo. At first there doesn’t seem that much here to write home about. But over the last couple of years I have grown to really love this area like an old friend. Even Big M, who is normally rather cynical about these things, has to admit a real soft-spot for Nishi. Charming is perhaps not the right word to describe it, but it certainly has a real vibrancy and character that illicits a real feeling of affection. Although not as well-to-do as some of its neighbouring districts, it is a comfortable, relaxed area to live.

And did I mention?…full of characters who are as equally charming and colourful. Not to mention just a teeny bit mad (in the nicest possible way!)


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