Did you know Japan celebrates Tanabata in July and August? It does, and there is a simple reason for it. Some places hold it following the modern calendar, while others follow the old. And the Asagaya Pearl Center, a shopping arcade in Suginami ward, does things the old way! This retro-style shopping mall puts on a fantastic family event. This year the crowd was big, as always!
In case you didn’t know, the Pearl decorates the length of its roof with giant paper-mâché dolls. It would be about one kilometer in length, not too far to walk. But, when it is crowded, you have to make your way through the mass of people. If you want to see all the dolls, it might take some time!
And the dolls that hang from the ceiling could be anything. They ranged from Star War’s Chewbacca to King Tut and everything and anything in between. Even Donald Trump and Kim Jon Un put in an appearance, looking very friendly together. Imagination is the only limit. Creators put much effort into them.
There were a few dolls that we see every year, like Doraemon, Thomas the Tank Engine, and Anpanman. I didn’t see Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow character from Pirates of the Caribbean in 2018, which was a pity. Funnily though, I’ve never seen any of his movies.
As usual, I always have problems with my timing. I went on Sunday after school in my work clothes, even though it was hot and humid. By the time I finished, sweat had covered me. And I was thoroughly exhausted. I don’t regret it, though, as I enjoy photographing there.
If you are after a Tanabata event in August, head to the Pearl Center in Asagaya, as it is a good event. The paper-mâché dolls are great, and many shops have stalls out front that sell food and drink. It’s a fun event!
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