三社祭の食物 Food of Sanja Matsuri

This is the second part of the Sanja Matsuri. I wanted to make a whole post about food because one post that would have everything would be too big.

I will apologize because I’m 100% sure that after you have seen these photos you will be dying of hunger.

I’m not sure about the names of some of these foods but food is food names doesn’t matter 😀
I’ll try to add the names later with some Japanese help hehe.

Delicious burger ! I ate one and NAAAAM ;D
三社祭の食物 Food of Sanja Matsuri
This must be good too
三社祭の食物 Food of Sanja Matsuri
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三社祭の食物 Food of Sanja Matsuri三社祭の食物 Food of Sanja Matsuri三社祭の食物 Food of Sanja Matsuri
I LOOOVE Corn !
三社祭の食物 Food of Sanja Matsuri
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Doesn’t all of them look mouth watering !! I’m getting more hungry by just writing this post
So that was what people ate but what people drank well I got an answer to that too 😀

三社祭の食物 Food of Sanja Matsuri三社祭の食物 Food of Sanja Matsuri三社祭の食物 Food of Sanja Matsuri三社祭の食物 Food of Sanja Matsuri
Big blocks of ice preventing the drinks getting warm
三社祭の食物 Food of Sanja Matsuri
三社祭の食物 Food of Sanja Matsuri三社祭の食物 Food of Sanja Matsuri三社祭の食物 Food of Sanja Matsuri三社祭の食物 Food of Sanja Matsuri三社祭の食物 Food of Sanja Matsuri

and more drinks coming in since it was a warm day and everything was getting sold fast.
三社祭の食物 Food of Sanja Matsuri

If you liked this post like my facebook page ! photographer ari helminen

三社祭 Sanja Matsuri 2012 浅草 東京

Finally got around to this post !
I’m sorry that it took this long to get this done but you know that the WiFi in Aomori was not that fast to upload all these photos.

Sanja Matsuri which means “three shrine festival”, it’s one of three biggest Shinto festivals in Tokyo area. The festival lasts three days and it is held yearly on the third weekend of May.

The festival is for the honor for Hinokuma Hamanari, Hinokuma Takenari and Hajino Nakatomo, three men who founded Senjo-ji Temple.

Sanja Matsuri is mostly about people carrying portable shrines called Mikoshi for three days but on the third day they bring out the three biggest Mikoshi which makes the other mikoshi look small.
That what the festival is famous for but I loved the part that came after which was all the parties, Japanese people drunk everywhere and lots of fun and making new friends.

You could even see a lot of Yakuza there who are some of the biggest supporters of this event. I got some amazing photos of them.

Everyone should add this event to their bucket list!!

I’ll be making two different post of this festival because the amount of photos I have from there.
First one which is this post will be about the festival and the second one will be about all the food and drinks they had in there!

In my flickr you can find 170 photos from there so check out more in my flickr site ! Ari Helminen in Flickr

I’ll do my best not to make this post too long.
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I saw japanese school students posing for a photographer so I decided to snap a shot too.
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Beautiful Sky Tree.
三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri
三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri

One of the best festivals in the world !
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This is probably the cutest thing I saw at that festival.
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三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri

三社祭
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Yakuza (Japanese Mafia) at Sanja Matsuri. Yakuza is part of the Japanese culture and way of life. Without Yakuza many of these beautiful festivals would not be around any more. They were nice enough to pose for couple of photos after they were done with carrying the Mikoshi.

I took a lot of photos of them because I love their tattoos and just because they are Yakuza. See more photos of them in my flickr page.

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You can see that I wasn’t the only one excited
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People tired after all the carrying.
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Doing this all day will make you tired.
三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri

if you were wondering how many people are in this festival, during the three days 1.5 to 2 million locals and tourists every year. You are wondering what that looks in a photo ?
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三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri

I’d love to try carrying this all day. Probably I would die half way tho but would be an experience.
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Couple more Yakuza photos. Sorry that there are so much, I’m just so happy I got these photos.
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Was a very beautiful day for the festival.
三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri

All through the festival there were these wagons with singers and players which made the mood of the festival so much better.
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Here are some close up photos of the people who were carrying the shrines.
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三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri
This guy was cool !
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not surprising that legs hurt after everything.
三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri

三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri
Let the drinking start!
三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri
三社祭 浅草、東京。Sanja Matsuri

I truly hope that you liked these photos! check out my flickr to see much much more.
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If you liked these photos, “like” my facebook page !

Sky Tree & Party in Shinjuku

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This day was awesome because I had a party with my friends whom I haven’t seen for a while and also I visited the mall of Sky Tree Solamachi with my girl.

Since my girl wasn’t in Tokyo for the grand opening of the sky Tree she wanted to visit there before we left to Aomori and after 40 minutes walking around the shops there I had to take her to get that smoothie/shake shop I found on my last visit there.

I had my favorite which of course is Strawberry shake
Strawberry shakey in Sky Tree
and she had the pineapple one.
My girl enjoying her shake
I preferred mine tho since mine was more sweeter 😛
Pineapple shakey in the Sky TreeStrawberry Shake

Later that day we went to omote sando to shop some clothes and after that we went to Shakeys pizzeria. (you know I love that place)(we don’t care about the pizza that much but the onion rings are the best)

Lunch at omotesandocaesar salad !tasty onion rings

In the evening we had our party at a Izakaya called Wara Wara in Shinjuku.
Always happy to see friends and make new ones at these parties !
Party at Wara Wara, ShinjukuParty at Wara Wara, ShinjukuParty at Wara Wara, ShinjukuParty at Wara Wara, Shinjuku

This is actually kinda funny, I normally love wasabi but this evening my throat was hurting so eating it was a little bit more difficult than I thought.

1st. This is me with the Wasabi before I ate it. ( you can see there is quite a lot of it)
Party at Wara Wara, Shinjuku
2nd.Ok so now it’s in my mouth, all good so far..
Party at Wara Wara, Shinjuku
3rd. Here it got me since I could not swallow it and the hotness was getting higher and higher. Luckily I had a nice cold beer in my hand to help.
Party at Wara Wara, Shinjuku

Normally, like now I could eat that piece of wasabi and not blink an eye.. just saying 😀

Here are some food photos of what we were eating.
Party at Wara Wara, ShinjukuParty at Wara Wara, ShinjukuParty at Wara Wara, Shinjuku
Don’t you just love these things at the izakayas? 10 minutes after the tray arrives to the table, it’s empty.
Party at Wara Wara, Shinjuku

If any of you are ever in Tokyo while I’m there and not busy, send me a message and you might get invited to one of my great parties 😀

for the last note, have you noticed that in Japan they have changed the sprite can for “older” looking design. I normally don’t drink sprite but the cool looking can made me get one.

New sprite cans in Japan

New years in Japan!

おはようございます!

Okay this post is kinda late but still I know you’ll love it !

The photos in this post will be from the days between 30th to first of January I hope you enjoy them.

If you were reading my blog when I was in Aomori you should have seen this beautiful cat called Chibi.
Happy new year from ChibiHappy new year from ChibiHappy new year from Chibi
She looks so cute when she is sleepy!
Happy new year from Chibi
Close up photo !
Happy new year from Chibi

The convenience stores were very intelligent to make this glass box in front of their main door so snow would not be coming in. Also the parking lots were full of hot water all day so it would not freeze.

New years in Hirosaki,Aomori

Took some photos at the New years table for you so you can see what a normal Japanese new years food is. Warning you will get hungry when seeing the food!
New years in Hirosaki,AomoriNew years in Hirosaki,AomoriNew years in Hirosaki,AomoriNew years in Hirosaki,Aomori

Deeeeelicious ! Would you like to eat any of this ?
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I have to say that there was a lot of food! the 31st we started eating about 3-4pm and ended the evening at 2am and the party continued for the next few days.
New years in Hirosaki,AomoriNew years in Hirosaki,AomoriNew years in Hirosaki,AomoriNew years in Hirosaki,Aomori

If you have any questions of what is what just ask 😀
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New years in Hirosaki,AomoriNew years in Hirosaki,Aomori

I also took some photos at the store of the different dishes, you can see that they are not that expensive either.
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Check how cheap coca cola is in north Japan.
New years in Hirosaki,Aomori
… 138yen for 1,5L bottle
New years in Hirosaki,Aomori
If you are in Japan or going to Japan I’d recommend you to try this ice cream, you can find it pretty much everywhere!
New years in Hirosaki,Aomori

Since my girlfriends old room did not have a working tv, so I was watching tv through her phone!
New years in Hirosaki,Aomori
ps. that is a great tv show with Takeshi Kitano.

Now you are wondering why I haven’t taken much photos with my Nikon, well it was snowing quite a bit!
Snowing in Hirosaki

Happy new year from Aomori,Japan あけましておめでとうございます。青森、日本

Happy new year from Japan!

I’m still here in Aomori, now partying with my girlfriends family.

The year has been great to me mostly because I have been 6months in Japan this year!
Took some photos of the table that was full of Japanese food!
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I took better photos with my Sony again that you will see later!
Hopefully all of you will have a peaceful new years and don’t drink too much! (I’m pretty much passed my limit with all the sake,asahi and drinks!)

Merry Christmas/Hanukkah From Japan

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE ! I HOPE YOU HAD A PEACEFUL & HAPPY HAPPY CHRISTMAS!!

So Christmas went and New Years is coming coming fast ! Our Christmas here in Tokyo went very well with delicious Christmas chicken that we reserved from KFC before and with a tasty Christmas cake from Baskin Robins that we got on Christmas eve.

In Japan two most important things to have on your Christmas table are chicken and cake.

At baskin Robins we could not get a christmas cake since all were reserved but we did get a normal cake from there that was great !

There was a long line at 24th as well

Christmas in Japan

This is the normal Christmas box that you get when you order a Christmas cake.

Christmas in Japan

This is what we got !
Christmas in Japan

Luckily we had our Christmas chicken reserved from KFC november already so we got the set that we wanted. I have to say that I love KFC in Japan ! In that box was the perfect amount for us as well.

Christmas in Japan

I actually forgot to take a photo of the chicken because I was starving.

But this the cake we ate.

Christmas in Japan
Christmas in Japan

And after we got everything eaten we took a breather and relaxed a bit and then we started to make the Christmas house that we bought and here are the results 😀
Christmas in JapanChristmas in JapanChristmas in JapanChristmas in JapanChristmas in JapanChristmas in JapanChristmas in Japan

Now we are in a hurry with packing and getting ready for our trip to Aomori, to be exact Hirosaki city. We’ll be staying there about a week. Today we will go there from Tokyo station with a night buss and we will be coming back at 3rd of January in a Shinkansen (bullet train).

I’ll have my camera with me so I will try to get some beautiful winter landscape photo as well as photos of the Hirosaki castle.

Also I will be updating at least a little from my ipad while I am there! but for now Have a great week and HAppy new year 2012 for everyone ! thank you so much for following my life in Japan so far !

Swedish Party at the Sakura Hostel Asakusa


I’m good friends with manager of the famous Sakura hostel Asakusa and she invited my girlfriend and I to a Swedish party she was having with her Swedish friends at her hostel.

Before I show you photos of this party and tell you the story of the party, I’d wanna throw a advert for sakura hostel asakusa.

If you are visiting Tokyo and thinking where to stay I recommend highly this hostel with it’s friendly staff and great atmosphere. Sakura hostel asakusa also has many different events monthly from calligraphy drawing lessons and Kimono trying  to sightseeing tours as well (most are free or very cheap). When I came to Japan the first time I stayed with Sakura house which is another part of the Sakura company but the first Hanami (flavor watching event in spring) was through Sakura hostel asakusa, they invited me there and I met many friends that has become very close to me here in Japan.

More about the Hostel. Free wifi (difficult to find in Tokyo to be honest) and of course if you are staying there you can use their computers free as well. Great kitchen area where you can actually cook well with all the space.

For entertainment the place has a flat screen tv with game consoles and board games and let’s not forget a piano 😀 !

Top 10 things about Sakura hostel Asakusa:
1st. Free WiFi
2nd. Cheap
3rd. Location, in the middle of Asakusa and close to the station
4th. Staff, some of the most friendliest people in Tokyo. ps. they can speak many languages.
5th. The size of the kitchen area
6th. Events that they organize
7th. trust worthy
8th. Big tv,game consoles and board games for a boring night
9th. Vending machines (alcohol as well)
10th. two great smoking areas right outside

If you have followed my blog you have seen that I go there pretty often to use their wifi and to meet new people and have fun.

(Sakura hostel is not paying me to write this just want to give a advert to the best hostel in Tokyo)

But now to the party !

Party was great ! there were 3 Swedish people, 1 Estonian, 1 Finnish (me), 1 German and 3 Japanese including my girlfriend. So almost all of Scandinavia you might say. Food was delicious as well with traditional Swedish meatballs and sushi with beer and hot wine. I was at the hostel already like 4-6 hours earlier to upload photos and edit, so I was taking photos when they were cooking and putting everything together as well.
Swedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura Hostel
Talking about Sweden with serious faces 😀
Swedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura HostelSwedish party @ Asakusa Sakura Hostel