Summer signals the start of festival season in Japan - at least it does to me. In Sapporo, my schedule was fortuitous in that it aligned with the energetic and infectious Yosakoi Soran dance festival. On my return to the city, I paid a yet another visit to the popular Maruyama Koen (park). This time, my itinerary coincided with the popular Hokkaido Shrine Matsuri (festival). During the day, I enjoyed a generous portion of pork cartilage and muscle over sliced cabbage and mayonnaise, and then stepped into the beer garden for a quick, refreshing beverage (or two). The shrine was abuzz with both traditional and modern celebration, as well as an odd but rather popular Japanese Macaque show. In the evening, it was off to more celebrations at Nakajima Koen. The crowds heaved through the narrow streets lined with food vendors before giving way to Japan’s version of a carnival freak show. A long day, but certainly one I won’t soon forget.
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