Gion Matsuri

I don’t even know where to start. It’s a long time ago, since I wrote my last blog post. The reason for that was actually, that I didn’t do anything in July, besides working, sleeping and missing home. But then, at the end of the month, it happened a lot. The biggest festival in Japan, Community footprints, farewell parties and dinners took place. From Karaoke to visiting Kanazawa, Takayama, Shirakawago and finally doing a trip to Korea! That’s what happened in the last few weeks. Now, it’s the first time that I am having time after work to write everything down, as good as I remember it. So, let’s start!

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From now on, I am already more than 5 months in Japan. The internship is getting to the end soon! Some of the interns, who started one month earlier than me, left already the end of July. Therefore, we all went together to our restaurant “La Locanda”, to eat dinner. It was such a weird feeling to walk into the hotel and the restaurant as a guest and to see your colleagues working. We saw everything from a different view, as if we do during work. The whole restaurant, the food and the service are much more elegant and special than we perceive it every single day.

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It was so cute, how the Italian chef, Corrado, prepared us a special Amuse bouche. Usually, our guests get one amuse bouche before the starter. He prepared us four different little bites. Afterwards we got pasta, fish, meat (for me a different fish dish) and dessert. It was delicious and the quality of the products definitely high. Nevertheless, I still think that the food and the service don’t justify the price you pay. Anyway! It was a great evening and a nice experience to be all together.

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But that wasn’t everything we did. Afterwards, we decided to go to Karaoke. Karaoke is extremely popular in Japan. Actually, in Asia, Karaoke is generally a very common thing to do with your friends. The only time I went to Karaoke was in Vietnam, but I’ve never been here to a Karaoke place. Therefore, I decided to join the others, even though I needed to work the next day early in the morning. I definitely don’t regret it! We had so much fun! I really love music and singing. That’s what I definitely missed here. We are still talking and laughing about that night. It was just so funny.

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One day later, one of the biggest annual festival in Japan, called Gion Matsuri, took place. It’s a massive, multiday festival that brings so many people to Kyoto. Gion Matsuri is celebrated the whole month, but the actual festival days were at the 15th, 16thand 17thof July. In the evening of the 16thall interns of La Locanda and other staff members of the Ritz Carlton Kyoto signed up for the Community footprint. In order to succeed our internship, we have to be part of at least two Community footprint activities. These activities are there to show, that the Ritz Carlton team cares about the environment and the community of Kyoto. Because the Gion Matsuri has a massive streetfood alley and therefore causes a lot of trash, we took care of the garbage. As I already mentioned before, that there aren’t any public trash cans on the streets of Japan. The Japanese learn in school, that you have to bring the garbage you produce back home. Furthermore, you aren’t allowed to eat while walking anyway. Therefore, the trash production is nothing in comparison with other countries in the world.

The Gion Matsuri is definitely an exception. We met each other to prepare the trash cans along the streetfood alley before the evening began. There was a heavy rain before we started our activity. But at the end, we were extremely lucky with the weather. This community footprint showed us again, how important it is for Japanese people to separate the trash. It’s not only plastic and compostable garbage. They separate the plastic packages, plastic bottles, the lit of the plastic bottles, the left-over food, the cans, even the chopsticks have their own bag. Crazy! And everyone is following the rules. Even on festivals like the Gion Matsuri.

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The best part was actually our break and the time after we finished. We went together to explore the huge festival area. We tried some typical Japanese street food items, like Takoyaki, Octopus, cucumber on a stick and many more. Yes, you heard right! Cucumber on a stick is the biggest trend here. We all found it ridiculously funny, until we tried it. It’s actually really tasty and so refreshing. Especially nice when it is so hot outside. Literally everyone walked with a cucumber around.

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At the main street around Karasuma station, we saw the traditional floats. It was so interesting and amazing to see the cars and to experience the music and small parades. Even though we were all super tired from the work, it was an absolutely great evening. The Taiwanese guy, Tony, and me took a taxi together back home. I definitely didn’t get a lot of sleep these days.

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The next day, the big parade and therefore the highlight of the Gion Matsuri took place from 9am to 1pm. Because I had to work, I didn’t have the chance to see the spectacle. But I really wanted to! Many other interns were off this day… but not me. Because the floats parade wasn’t too far away from the hotel, I had the idea to have a look during our lunch break. Alessia and Tony came with me. We ate for 10 minutes lunch, changed our clothes as quickly as possible, walked to Kyoto Shiyakusho-mae station and came perfectly on time for the parade. It was suuuper hot this day! Crazy! But it was definitely worth it to see the big parade. Nevertheless, I preferred the evening before. I was actually happy, that I didn’t spend my day off for watching the parade. Our break time was enough to get an impression. We were back on time for the lunch shift.

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A few days later we had a farewell party at the same Isakaya we were for Faustines birthday. We all came a last time together, before Maureen, Yemima and Dimas are leaving. All the part timers came, of course the interns and even our managers were there. Because we work already for such a long time every day together, we know each other so well, and became a really nice team. So sad that a part of us is leaving already. But the new interns came already at the beginning of the month, and the next once are coming at the beginning of August. It’s going to be very weird. But well… we ordered so much food, drinks and had a lot of fun. Nydia and I left around 10:30pm, because we needed to wake up at 5am again. The others, who were off the next day, continued with Karaoke.

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There was another community footprint a few days later, where we collected trash along the Kamogawa river. I better say, we pretended to collect trash. Japan is so clean, that you have issues to find anything that’s not supposed to be there. But because it’s a part of the internship, we have to be attentive. At least for the picture! We looked stunning in our sexy outfits.

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Gib eine Beschriftung ein

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Otherwise I went a little bit shopping, wrote some postcards, missed home, made Origami, practiced my Latté Art skills (still horrible), got a parcel from my family and made some wow stories at work.There was also a attack at the Annimation Studios in Kyoto, but I just heard about it in the news. Still.. I never expected something like a attack would ever happen here. Horrible!

That’s basically what happened! A short version of these few weeks in July. Be excited what happened afterwards!

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