Saturday, May 8, 2010

They Do It With Mirrors

"Hey Joey, where do Dutch people come from?"
"Uh... well the Pennsylvania Dutch come from Pennsylvania."
"And the other Dutch come from somewhere near the Netherlands right?"
"Nice try, see the Netherlands is this make believe place where Peter Pan and Tinkerbell come from."

"Friends: The One with the Football"

Golden Week has been remarkably Dutch this year. First day we visited Huis ten Bosch, a Netherlands-themed theme park in Nagasaki. And yes, it is weird as a Dutchman to visit a Netherlands theme park. But it was cheap and the point of departure of the tour bus was actually around the corner and I had to spend my GW one way or another anyway.

So I went back to my home country. Well, a warped version of the Netherlands. The sighting of a yorozoya within Huis ten Bosch certainly created a parallel in my head between the warped image of the Netherlands in Huis ten Bosch and the Edo in Gin Tama. Yes, it kinda looks like the original, but in a laughing mirror kind of way. And while there were no aliens in Huis ten Bosch, those gibberish talking clowns were at least as annoying/scary.

Interesting, but having nothing to do with Huis ten Bosch or the Netherlands was Mascotte Marathon held on that day. In Japan, everything has a cute mascotte. And they round up a bunch of them for a parade. Rememorable was the big wall of concrete that was supposed to be a bridge called Wataru-kun.

And the cat Non, who is the loving brother of two smaller kittens. I have no idea what he's supposed to represent, though I did get his business card.

As a manga-reader, I was also happy to see an exposition of several manga-artists drawing Sakamoto Ryouma. Quite surprised to see the likes of Yoshizake Mine (Keroro Gunsou) or Hanakuma Yuusuke (Tokyo Zombie) among the entries.

But to be honest, Huis ten Bosch is surely going to die in a few years. Practically nobody in the park on the first day of GW? But of course, the park has very few to offer: as there are no rides or things like that, you're hardly going to visit the park multiple times (and most people in Kyuushuu have probably already visited it once), while foreigners are not likely going to visit a Netherlands-themed theme park in Japan.

The Sasebo Burger, a local brand of hamburger, is very tasty though. Even better was that we got a free burger because the restaurant clerk couldn't count or something. Even after we said we only ordered four burgers, the clerk insisted we kept it. Which worked out, because there were 5 people of us, but still, that part certainly didn't seem Dutch.

On the third and fourth of May, the Dontaku matsuri was held in Fukuoka. While it used to have a different name, it nowadays is named after the Dutch word for Sunday (Zondag). And no, dontaku doesn't really sound like Zondag, nor does it really has anything to do with Sunday.

But the festival consisted mostly of parades throughout downtown Fukuoka. Lots of parades. Of a lot of groups. Walking. And making music. And walking. Actually, it was not that entertaining, but I have been told the next big Fukuoka matsuri, Yamakasa, is the more entertaining anyway. But at least there was a lot of matsuri food ^_^

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