August 2019

One of the most attractive things about summer in Japan is traditional summer festivals “Matsuri”. From traditional regional events such as Nebuta Festival to spectacular fireworks events such as Tokyo Sumida River Fireworks, there are numbers of special events to enjoy in August.

My daughter, her friend and I went Otaru Ushio Matsuri, the one of the biggest festivals in Otaru City, Kokkaido prefecture this year. This festival is held every year on the last Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of July in Otaru, a prosperous trade port known for its canals and historic buildings. This festival started as a way to show appreciation to the ocean from the Otaru citizens. It also passed on the history and culture to the next generation, and prays for the continued development of Otaru city. On the first day, “Tide Flow” dancing is performed. “Tide Entrainment” dancing is performed on the second day while participants dance from the city center to the port. On the final day, fishermen join in on the maritime parade. Other various activities are held including a fireworks display that adorns the night harbor, Mikoshi Parade, as well as many “Demise”, street food and entertainment in the form of colorful pop-up stalls.

Enjoy the short summer of Iowa, and have a wonderful month,

Chié Schiller
Board Chair / Executive President