In Sosa, there is a lovely group of folks whose pastime is making winnowing baskets (箕) at the Kizumi Winnowing Baskets Factory (木積箕づくり工房).  Many of the members have been making these baskets for years and they make making these baskets look like a piece of cake. 

To make the baskets, you have to use a few different materials. Here is some of the bamboo that was hung to dry before being used to weave the basket. It has to be wet again before being woven through the other bamboo or it will break and you will also get a hand full of splinters!

 This old lady's fingers are magical, zooming in and out of between the pieces of bamboo.

This basket is getting closed to being finished. The man pictured is working on making the rim of the basket. When you watch them, you can see how much effort they put into even the smallest of details. Each day, they can only complete around 2 baskets, so it makes sense that the baskets cost around $150 (~1万5千円).

 After the baskets are finished, they are used to carry rice from the fields or other agricultural goods. 

 As we were leaving to go back to the bus, I noticed that one of the members was wearing old-style Japanese shoes. They don't quite look comfortable, but I was surprised to see a person walking in them as I usually only see traditional-style Japanese shoes when it gets close to festival time. 

In May, at the same place, they have a festival for wisteria, full of the amazing lavender-colored flowers. There are also drum performances, so bring your whole family!

If you would like to try making willowing basket or want to know more information about the wisteria festival, please call 0479-73-0089 
or visit...


Kizumi 1201, Sosa City, Chiba (匝瑳市木積1201)

How to get there:

If you are going by train, take the Soubu Hon Line and get off at Yokaichiba Station. Take the bus for Narita Station and get off at "Kizumi" (木積)


勝浦のひな祭り- Doll Festival in Katsuura, Chiba

かつうらビッグひな祭り- Katsuura Doll Festival

There were thousands of dolls on display! It's beautiful but I would never want them in my house.

Hokkaido- Part 1

Some friends and I went on a 6 day trip to Hokkaido to see the Sapporo Snow Festival.

Getting there
I rode into Hokkaido in style. Was lucky enough to get the Pikachu plane. It was cute :)

Shiroi Koibito
I went to the Shiroi Koibito Factory. It is a famous chocolate company in Japan. It was interesting to see how they make the chocolates and see what the inside of the factory worked like. The dessert was absolutely delicious!

Snow Festival
The whole point of going to Sapporo was to check out the snow festival. There were hundreds of cools now sculptures... one of my favorites being the Star Wars one.

I also really liked the church from the Philippines.

There were also a lot of ice sculptures which were funded by various companies.
We made sure to stop by the Ramen Alley (ラーメン横丁). Apparently ramen is a famous food in Hokkaido.

We also learned some of the native dialect...
なまら= 超/すごく

The tower looked quite beautiful with the ice sculpture lit up in front of it.

Sapporo Beer Museum
Next we headed to the Sapporo Beer Museum where we learned about the history of the company. The old advertisements/posters were pretty cool and 500¥ to try 3 of the beers wasn't a bad price either. We tried the Black Label and Classic which are hard to find outside of this area.

You can't say that you went to Hokkaido and didn't eat fish, so... off to a sushi bar we went. All of it was freshly made and there was a 30 minute or so wait to get 2 seats. It was completely worth it though.

We went for a day trip to a small town called "Otaru" on the water. The difference in temperature was crazy. It was a little chillier that day, but the wind made a huge difference. So many tourists here though... Otherwise, it was a beautiful little city.



Made it to Osaka!

In the Umeda Sky Building!


Can't go to Osaka and not eat fried chicken (and everything else) skewers!

Osaka Castle

Beautiful Fall Colors :)


Made it to Kyoto!

Kiyomizu Temple

Kiyomizu Temple from the bottom


やわたんまち祭りPt.1// Yawatanmachi Festival Pt. 1

Various Pictures from Yawatanmachi Festival

鴨川の祭り// Festival in Kamogawa

I went to a local festival in Kamogawa and helped carry the mikoshi (portable shrine) for the first time. It weighs about a ton, so needless to say, my shoulder was sore for a few days after. During the daytime, the men carry it, the evening, it's half and half, and by evening it's almost all women. 
鴨川の祭り行って、初めて神輿を担いでいた~ 1000パウンドぐらいの重さで肩は1週間ぐらい筋肉痛のままだった。 日中は男が担いで、夕方は男女で頑張って、夜になると担いでいる人はほ8割以上女~
 At the beginning of the journey, leaving the shrine

Carrying the mikoshi 

 A view from the street mirror

What people wear

 Close up of the shrine

There way of cooling off? Throw others into the ocean.


あわのネ//Awa no Ne Music Festival

来年も行こう~! というか、来年ボランティアとかできたらいいな~~
I went to Awa no Ne. Awa no Ne is a local music festival held right near the ocean. There are a lot of food places and booths, you can watch dance crews, there's a DJ area and about 2 or 3 stages.
The weather was a bit iffy but it was a great day spent with friends and others enjoying the music!

I hope to go again next year! Rather...if there is someway I could volunteer and help, that would be awesome!!