Author: cecilia

A Taste of Japan

Nama-gaki in Japan

When it comes to festivals, Japan is one of the best places to celebrate. It has a long list of matsuris many of which draw people from around the world. It also has a number of food festivals, which provide the perfect setting to taste Japan in all its culinary glory.

Miyajima Oyster Festival
Where: Miyajima, Hiroshima
When: Early February
Why go: Hiroshima is known for its excellent seafood and the oysters are definitely a must-try. And there is no better time to eat them than during oyster season that falls in the first quarter of the year. The Miyajima Oyster Festival is an annual celebration held in early February. You can eat great tasting oysters raw or take your pick from the selection of delectable oyster-based dishes.

Meguro Kumin Matsuri
Where: Meguro-ku, Tokyo
When: Early September
Why go: The Meguro Kumin Matsuri is a festival that features four different events — the Furusato Bussannten, Kodomo Hiroba, Meguro no Sanma Matsuri, and Omatsuri Hiroba. The most popular of which is the Meguro no Sanma Matsuri or Pacific saury festival where visitors can enjoy freshly-grilled Sanma (Pacific saury).

Hokkaido Fair (The Hokkai Shokudo)
Where: Yoyogi Park, Tokyo
When: Late September to early October
Why go: The Hokkaido Fair is a food festival that celebrates and showcases the scrumptious foods from the region. Spread over four days, the free event attractions hundreds of thousands of local and foreign visitors who come to enjoy a wide array of dishes and treats at affordable prices including the best quality seafood as well as Hokkaido’s famous beer — Sapporo.

Turkish Delight and other sweets at the Spice Bazaar in Istanbul

Turkish Delights: 7 of the Must-See Things and Do in Turkey

Turkish Delight and other sweets at the Spice Bazaar in Istanbul

Anyone on the lookout for a festival to explore will find plenty of fascinating possibilities from around the world. And a country that straddles two continents seems like a great place to start. Turkey, with its European and Asian sides, offers a lot of things to see and experience for every traveler who takes the time to discover and immerse in its culture. Festival lovers will find a wide array of events and gatherings worth checking out like the Sarıgerme Kite Festival, the traditional camel wrestling, and the various art, cultural, and film festivals held in different parts of the country.

But more than the festivals, Turkey is teeming with popular and hidden attractions and things to do that should be on every traveler’s radar. Here are just some of the things you would not want to miss when visiting the country:

1. Start your day with a traditional Turkish breakfast, preferably with or surrounded by locals.

2. Spend time exploring the country’s food scene. Eat baklava and taste some of the wide arrays of delicious Turkish Delights Istanbul and other cities or towns have to offer.

3. Enjoy a cup of Turkish coffee or tea at the café in Dolmabahçe Palace while admiring the waterfront view of the European side of the Bosphorus.

4. Go souvenir shopping or browsing through the hundreds of stalls offering a mind-boggling array of items at the Grand Bazaar and check out the wide selection of foods and spices at the Spice Bazaar in Istanbul.

5. Admire the stunning architecture of some of Istanbul’s famous attractions like Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya), Topkapı Palace, Sultan Ahmed Mosque, Dolmabahçe Palace, Basilica Cistern, and more.

6. Get your fill of some of the best Turkish street foods like dürüm, kumpir (baked potato with a wide array of toppings to choose from), lahmacun (Turkish pizza), simit, and so much more.

7. See some of the best attractions in the country’s European and Asian sides.

Holi Festival

5 Best Things that Can Happen in Festivals

Holi Festival

Festivals are celebrated for varied reasons. Some are steeped in ancient rituals and traditions while others serve as gatherings to commemorate important events. Whatever the theme of the celebration may be, being part of a festival can be an amazing moment. And for some, it can be life-changing. Here are some of the best things that can happen to you in festivals.

1. Once in a lifetime experiences
Every celebration is unique in itself regardless of how long the tradition has been observed. You can experience the same event differently each time. The people are different and how things unfold will never be exactly the same as before. For this reason, every festival has something new to offer, a once in a lifetime experience that make for great stories you can look back to over time.

2. Chance meetings and real life connections
In today’s increasingly connected world, more and more people are relying on technology to communicate. This limits real-life interactions. Festivals provide opportunities for chance meetings and new friendships. You will likely meet people from different walks of life, hear their stories, or observe and learn from them.

3. The unexpected and unfamiliar
Festivals take you out of your comfort zone. The unexpected and unfamiliar may be daunting at the onset. But it can push you beyond your limits allowing you to explore what you are capable of doing if put in unfamiliar situations. The things that happen during the events or celebrations you become part of can even broaden your perspectives.

4. Learning experience
A lot of festivals are rooted in cultural traditions and religious beliefs of diverse groups of people. You can learn a lot about their history, culture, and rituals as well as get a glimpse of the life they lead. Some of the things you will discover are not even things you can read about from books or learn in schools.
Festivals allow you to push your limits.

5. Creativity and meaning
Festivals are a celebration of creativity and a form of expression for people from different backgrounds. It allows you to see spectacular displays of people’s talents and skills. From unique costumes to the different ways events are celebrated, festivals showcase the people’s ability to create and put meaning to their work.