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Here are some cultural exhibits and events that I have come across thus far during my time in Japan

Obon Festival - These are a few pictures of my town's Obon Festival, which is held annually in August. It is a time when the spirits of the peoples' ancestors return home. Many families come together at this time to celebrate the festival

Bon Odori - This was my shining moment on stage in Shizuka Hall, the large music hall in my town. I performed Bon Odori with a group of old ladies. I tried my best and did an alright job. I'm still practicing and trying to become better at it.

Bonsai, Artwork, etc. - These are pictures of different displays of artwork for Culuture Day(11/3). The third picture is a 100 year old Bonsai tree! There are also pictures of paintings and Noh Drama masks.

Ningyo - These are pictures of puppet plays that I was lucky enough to see. These are students from different schools on Awajishima performing different plays.

Jidai Matsuri - This is an annual festival held in Kyoto where people wear costumes from the different eras of Japan's history. It was like an ancient fashion show on the streets. Included are a couple of pictures of some children that I thought were cute. Enjoy!

Sumo - I know you've all been waiting to see this! Are they just a bunch of big fat men rubbing against each other, or collasal warriors preserving the traditions of a nation? I already had much respect for these "rikishi" or strong men before I went to this tournament. They have a rigorous training routine and are completely devoted to the sport. I think they are powerful warriors not to be reckoned with! See for yourself.

Hanami- This is the Japanese tradition of going out and enjoying the blooming cherry blossoms while drinking and having fun. There's a saying in Japanese: "Hana yori dango." It means that the drinking, eating, and all the festivities are better than actually watching the flowers…I agree. This is the hanami festival at Himeji Castle. These pictures didn't come out too well, but take a look anyway.

Spring Festival- This is the spring festival at Izanagi Shrine in Ichinomiya town, the town next to Tsuna. This is a very important shrine in Japan because it is dedicated to one of the two gods that created Japan. This festival was filled with "danjiri", or floats that were all manpowered by a bunch of drunken men. Some of the danjiri were pushed from side to side until the person on the top nearly toppled over. It was lots of fun to watch!