This past Saturday, one of my island high schools held their school festival. I hadn’t been to one of their festivals yet, so I wanted to go. I can usually make 1 or 2 school festivals a year, since they are all held close to the same time.
School festivals in Japan are kind of the big event of the year. The students do a lot of work to put the event together. There are lots of decorations, exhibits, games, and performances. Sometimes even parades and fireworks. Usually, there’s also lots of food.
Saturday morning, I got up early, hopped on my bike, and rode to the ferry terminal. I bought a ticket for me and my bike, and headed over to the vehicle boarding area. I waited for directions, and then took my bike into the huge cavern in the bottom of the ferry. It’s kind of an intimidating space – like a huge garage with buses and trucks and cars…and a few bikes and scooters.
The Saturday morning ferry ride was lovely. I was wearing warm clothes, so I headed out to sit on the deck. I love sitting on the deck, especially when the inside is packed like a can of sardines. But it has been too cold so far on my trips this year.
Once on the island, I hopped on my bike and pedaled off. The ride to the high school was just lovely. I love the rocky coastline and the sheer green hills. I had plenty of time to get to school, so I enjoyed frequent picture stops. I even got two souvenir bruises on my knee and leg. One was when my overloaded bike fell over onto my leg, and the other was when I was leaping over a ravine and landed on my knee on the road
Eventually, I made it to the festival. The students had worked really hard on decorations, and everything looked fantastic.
Do you recognize the second character in the above decoration??
First was a taiko (drum) performance and a random student dance. Then, the eating contests began. In groups of 4, people competed to see who could be the first to finish a bottle of cola, cup noodles, shaved ice, or fruit. I did not participate in these events! Some of the shaved ice racers looked like they were in pain! I saw the English teacher and two students in line for the next event, so I sat down near the front to watch and take pictures. One of the students ran over to me and asked if I would play Russian Roulette (no, not that one!). I said OK, and followed him over to join the group.
Here is how the game goes:
A team of 4 takes the stage and sits facing the audience.
Each player chooses a cream puff from a plate
Three of the cream puffs are normal, and one is filled with wasabi cream
Together, the players eat their puffs
The other team tries to guess which person got the wasabi puff
Each member reveals which puff they got
So, our group took the stage, and I was really hoping to not get the wasabi puff. I figured that I was pretty safe, since I had a 75% chance of getting a yummy cream puff. So, the plate came down the row, and I examined the remaining two puffs before making my choice. One was deflated, so I didn’t pick it (it kind of looked like it might have been tampered with).
Together, we popped our cream puffs into our mouths, and it quickly became clear that I had made the wrong decision. My mouth was full of a disgusting mix of pastry, whipped cream, and wasabi. Bleeeah! Well, I tried to make my expression as neutral as possible. Boy, that stuff took forever to go down! I was pretty sure that the other team was going to notice that it was taking me about eight years to chew and swallow a small pastry. Unbeknownst to me, the student next to me was hamming it up. So, most people thought she had it, and I don’t think anyone thought I had it. That made the reveal a bit of a surprise.
I stayed at the festival as long as I could, and left with just under an hour to ferry departure. I pedaled back as quickly as I could. I was going south, so it was faster. Heeheehee.
On the way back, we made a stop by Rishiri to drop off and pick up people.
Then it was on to the train and on to Nayoro for the next leg of the weekend adventure.