After a brief trip to beautiful Oregon, Haecceity is heading back to Japan! Because, really, that’s what most of you are here for. And, since Seattle’s weather heated back up, I’m going to remember Japan’s horrible summers and talk about Matsuyama’s summer night market.
Every summer, from mid-June through July, Matsuyama (the city I used to live in, for anyone just turning in) has a night market. Really, it’s a mini-festival, but everyone calls it the night market. Every Saturday, from five to nine PM, the covered shopping arcades Gintengai and Okaido are taken over by stalls selling everything from kakigori to AKB48 posters to karaage (Japanese fried chicken), as well as stalls with simple children’s carnival games.
The night market is a lot of fun, but mostly in small doses. My friends and I went a couple of times, to eat kakigori and check out a few of the stands selling inexpensive jewelery and the like, but didn’t stay too long. It’s always very crowded, so getting from one end to the other is a challenge, and we only made it 40 minutes to an hour at a time before heading for karaoke instead. It made for an excellent Saturday, though.
Another fun aspect of the night market, beyond food that’s bad for you, is the opportunity to wear yukata! Yukata are light cotton summer kimono and, despite being full-length and long-sleeved, they’re quite cool in Japan’s hot and humid summers. Personally, I think that wearing kimono for no reason is a bit ridiculous, but I definitely encourage it in the right context. It’s different, it’s a chance to experience something very Japanese, and you’ll shock the people around you, which may or may not be a bonus. The night market is the only time I can say for sure that a stranger took a picture of me without asking, so you will get a lot of attention. But it was worth it. No regrets here.
And that’s Matsuyama’s summer night market! Aside from the crowds, it was a low key, enjoyable way to spend a Saturday evening and I remember it fondly. It isn’t enough to warrant a special trip, but if you ever find yourself in the area during the summer, definitely check it out.