Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Dondon Kagoshima, May 5-6

And, finally, one last event to close out Golden Week. Amu Plaza was repurposed overnight Friday night to allow for another display of Kagoshima regional products.

The primary product was shochu, but some tables sold green tea and mikan (small oranges) as well. The table above offered shochu on the rocks or with water for 300 yen a glass.

There was a small live stage, but on Saturday the majority of the activities were either for showing off the foamhead mascots, or promotions of specific neighboring regions if you wanted to visit them. The character above is a takenoko (bamboo sprout) for Satsuma Machi (Satsuma city).

The poster the guy is holding advertises an onsen, while Takanoko has a poster for firefly viewing.

There really wasn't much to watch on Sunday, and I was busy for most of the afternoon. The only music event was at 2 PM - it was another jazz performance by Matsumoto, the young pianist that headlined the cherry blossom city (Sakura Machi) event a month ago. I missed seeing him play then because of work. This time, I had to replace a fluorescent bulb that burned out in the dining room, and couldn't get up to Amu Plaza until 2:30. I don't like Matsumoto that much as a person, but he plays jazz piano well. Instead, I caught part of the "shochu meister" presentation at 2:30.

The distilleries around Kagoshima have been sponsoring a "meister" training program, I guess. One of my English students had participated in this program for the last 6 months, and she finished it as a "certified meister." For the most part, this just seems to allow you to promote shochu at events like this. The guy to the left, and the woman in the middle of the stage are both meisters, and they alternated between talking about the differences of a couple shochu brands, and the best way to mix a shochu and soda (fill the glass with ice, add an ounce or two of shochu, slowly pour in the soda to almost fill the glass, stir twice, gently, then add another splash of shochu on top.) A good 15 minutes was spent comparing the merits of shochu and green tea, versus water and soda as mixers.

Shochu foamhead mascot.

After the meister bit was a "sports talk" with one of the members of the Rebnise basketball team. These are usually pretty dumb, so I didn't stick around for it. But, there was one woman in a wheelchair that was a big fan of the team, and she waited patiently through the shochu talk just to see one of her favorite players.

The last stage event for the weekend was another display of the foamhead mascots. The one on the left is Yuzudon (yuzu is a Japanese citrus), combining a yuzu with Saigo Takamori. The one on the right is Yuutan, a representative of a small town in Kirishima prefecture). I'm not sure if it's supposed to be a catfish, or what.

And, that was it for Golden Week. The main highlight, of course, was Dai Hanya, followed by the Beer Fest. Now, back to work.

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