Bringing the learning home (Australian Learning & Teaching Council)

Only in Japan….

I recently went to a traditional Japanese festival in Ikebukuro, Tokyo which was naturally outdoors, displaying lots of Japanese cultural and religious history and background. I’ve been to a Japanese festival before and wasn’t surprised to see the big parade, nor the tonnes of delicious Japanese food, nor the traditional Japanese dancing and drumming.

However, I really didn’t expect to see a full bar with servers dressed up in tuxedos, especially since the event was outdoors and so casual. But of course anything is possible in this country!!!


2 responses

  1. Great post, Emily, and you’ve prompted the creation of a new category: ‘Only in…’ It’s a great idea to try to get at something that seems to really be a hallmark, a distinctive characteristic of the place that you’re visiting.

    But the tuxedo thing is really interesting. I wonder if it’s a situation where the Japanese people involved aren’t as worried about the distinction between what is ‘traditional’ and what is ‘modern,’ or what’s ‘authentic’ and what’s ‘imported.’ Anthropologists talk about how certain practices (like tuxedos, in this case) get taken on board in new places and fundamentally transformed: people don’t even realize sometimes that the practice isn’t authentic.

    Great eye for the odd detail though. Loved the photos.

    September 28, 2010 at 9:35 am

  2. Jan Gothard

    Indeed anything is possible in Japan! I recall the way the staff in department stores dressed too – not in tuxedos perhaps, but very smart and always with white gloves. And all the staff at the railways stations, including the people who sweep the platforms- white gloves always. It’s the same as always leaving your outside shoes outside – no personal physical contact with the contamination of the outdoor world at all. Never touching food with your bare hands too – maintaining very clear demarcation lines between different elements of existence. Have you found yourself characterised as a rather grubby ‘gaijin’ yet? I remember very clearly being ticked off in no uncertain terms by a five year old when I walked out of the bathroom still wearing the ‘toilet slippers’! Unforgivable and highly embarrassing!

    October 1, 2010 at 4:02 am

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