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August 16, 2016

Lanterns and Last Meetings: Gokoku Jinja Mitama Matsuri

Gokoku Mitama Matsuri is certainly one of the best summer festivals in Fukuoka. This year they combined the lantern festival with the shrine's regular flea market: two of my favourite events in one place. My friend Mina helped me to get dressed in my lilac yukata, she wore a lovely vintage yukata that her Mum wore in her youth, and we took a bus to Gokoku Shrine to enjoy a perfect summer festival - eating kakigori, browsing flea market stalls, bumping into friends and enjoying the wondrous atmosphere that 6,000 hand-painted lanterns creates.
I'm grateful for many friendships I've made in Japan, and one of those I cherish dearly is wonderful Mina. After working together briefly, Mina soon became my first true friend in Fukuoka, helping me with so many confusing parts of Japanese daily life in the beginning and sharing the ups and downs of our lives for five solid years. She is always generous in taking the time to teach me about Japanese culture, such as tea ceremony & kimono wearing (in both of which she is pro!) and when we sleep over at eachother's place it's guaranteed that we will talk and giggle all night like teenagers. Last night was the last time we'll hang out for a while, but I walk away with a bright little lantern in my heart from knowing such a beautiful, clever and unfailingly kind friend.



Thanks for looking! ありがとう!

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