This past weekend was the Kashiwa Matsuri (festival)... aka a giant party in my backyard. Funny thing is, I had originally planned to travel down to Kobe on Saturday to help out with a basketball ministry camp so I wasn't going to be able to go to the festival. But at the last minute, the camp schedule got pushed back 2 days leaving me with a free Saturday to go, so it all worked out! 

The streets were packed when I got there at 3pm and the Odori dance competition was going on. Everyone looked so lovely, and the booming taiko drums and high pitched odori music created that quintessential-Japanese-matsuri atmosphere. 

Can we all take a moment to appreciate this man's incredible photography form. 

Kashiwa station is pretty big so all the surrounding streets were packed with booths selling snacks, drinks, and offering games for the kids. Steph's sister Courtney has been traveling through Japan these past few weeks and it was fun to have her in town for this specific matsuri. 

I loved these two girls and their grandpa.

On the other side of the station they had a big stage set up for many performances that ran throughout the weekend.


all kinds of seafood on sticks, amazingly crispy and delicious Japanese pickles, and these traditional candies...just to name a few snacks for sale. 

fresh squeezed orange jucie with a bit of sparking cider mixed in. 

As expected, Steph and I ran into so many of our students there. It was as if every 10 minutes or so we heard, "OH!? AMIE! STEPHANIE!" These girls are on the dance team at school and were dressed in the cutest Yukatas! 

ahhh...a nice cold bottle of Ramune! 

Ok, I think we can all agree that Japanese kids are reallyyyy cute...but Japanese kids in their summer yukatas take it to the next level of undeniable cuteness! 

It's not a true matsuri without some good Kakigori (Shaved ice) and this one did not disappoint. 

As a kid, I remember looking forward to the JCI (Japanese Cultural Institute) carnival every summer, which took place in the parking lot of our local community center. I have so many distinct memories of eating okinawa dango, yakisoba, shaved ice...playing bingo downstairs...making those tiny bead bracelets in the arts room upstairs (my Torrance peeps you know exactly what I'm talking about right?!)...fishing for goldfish using paper plates...saying hi to my uncle who sold plants from his nursery...and fully enjoying hanging out in the summer with friends. 

There is something so special about summers + matsuris and spending the afternoon in Kashiwa filled me with so much nostalgia. It was definitely the perfect way to spend a summer day in Japan!