Since last Friday Doshisha campus has existed in a whirl of students, performances and crazy energy. I’d had yet to attend it until today, but the wait was worth it. Oh my lawd if I’ve ever been in a more wild place. First off though, what is Doshisha Eve? This 4-day event is a celebration of Doshisha University itself, and gives students the time off to fully participate in the festivities. The entirety of the campus is lined with tents, under which are huddles of students either cooking something cheap and delicious or selling their wares (such as the pottery club). In front of the tents are more involved students, decked out in anything from their usual wear to cosplay to green morph suits that um, well, might fit a bit too well. Aside from the tents are 2 stages, roughly in the middle of all the commotion, bouncing from new pop to Black Sabbath to who knows what within a single set. A wrestling ring has been settled into the far corner of the spread, home to a group of interestingly-dressed folks who are either joking, slamming each other into the ground or else flailing around in some other entertaining manner. An active site, to say the least.
I’ll start with the food. Everything was priced from ￥50-300, very reasonable and also very delicious. I ended up sampling:
- agemochi (fried mochi) in kuro goma and kinako
- furaido aisu (fried ice cream), matcha and strawberry
- karaage with mayo
- okonomiyaki stick
- soup from Kan-san’s stand
- strawberry crêpe
- matcha bubble tea
- Korean rice cakes in a spicy sauce
Some notes on the food: damn if those weren’t the most aggressive booths I’ve ever had to fight my way through! Like hot damn man, more accosting here on this one day than in my entire life in America. That’s how you know it’s wild. The second I stepped on grounds people made eye-contact and honed in on your unsuspecting gaijin butt. Their signs rose along with their puffed chest as they swarmed around me, one guy standing literally an inch behind me until I turned and jumped, surprised to see him, while he crooned out “Oishii! Try it, yeah! Tasty hot dog!”. Bitch please, I just got here and like hell if I’m not going to (a) explore first and (b) buy a hot dog, an American as hell hot dog, amidst the glorious offerings of Japanese food goodness. After him I was met with another kid, maybe 10 feet away, who also had dyed hair similar to mind and came up with the pitch of “we have similar hair, so you should try my food ne?” which was also a hot dog. He described it as “a big weiner” and while it was indeed a huge sausage, no thank you in all forms sir. The deeper in I went the more wild it got, with guys whipping out their signs, trying to lure you in and calling when you’ve walked well past their stands, physically manipulating you in and one guy even saying “it’s delicious baby”. I got to the point where, after just giving this last guy the shock face, I either made shout-y “ahhhh!” noises in response (there was a lot of shouting, so much shouting dear god why) or just said “daijoubu, daijoubu” and walked away. I was beyond feeling rude or caring, this was absolute madness and I was not going to be dragged into anything.
The best booths were the ones that would ding a bell and cheer when you decided that you were going for their food, which was both cute and exciting. My favorite was a group selling Korean rice cakes in a spicy sauce. The guy calling out front wasn’t ridiculously aggressive, and managed to get me to come over to see what they were making. I asked how much it was and hearing a price of ￥200 I declined.
“No can do.”
“￥100? Daijoubu desu ka?”
“Yeah no, still not into it.”
One of them shouted out ￥50, presumably as a last-ditch joking effort, but I went for it. I like spicy foods and hey, what’s ￥50 right? I think that made their day, my mix of aloof bargaining and my giving in, so the bell was dinged loud and long. This booth also had a sign that read ‘Smith’, which is my home institution back in the states. Hilton, the friend I was with told them that I went to Smith and they absolutely lost it. What, Smith? Yes, yes indeed. You know I have no clue if it was my Smith, but since Doshisha has a women’s school and Smith College is a women’s school . . . there’s more than a slight chance. Either way they were so adorable and delighted, as was I, and so they enthusiastically saw me off as I cockily bowed off thanking them. Best table for sure.
Above are some other pictures from the Eve. Various dance clubs went on the red carpet to show off their moves, and did it to songs such as “Friend Like Me”, the Howl’s Moving Castle theme “Merry Go Round of Life” and various pop songs. The blocks were spread on the most buzzing, not-tent wrecked part of campus, and the pottery is from the booth of the pottery club. This little guy was very cute and too big to come home with me, unfortunately. What I did manage, however, was ￥700 for 2 small sake cups in gorgeous teal and brown glaze, as well as a flower shaped bowl in stormy blue-grey and white. Very satisfied with my experience at the festival, despite how overwhelming it was.
Below is a pic of me and the gang after we met up with Lizzie’s parents, who very kindly took us out to dinner again on their last night in Kyoto. How sweet of them – such great, fun people! The right picture is the view down the sidewalk of Kawaramachi, aka shopping hub and now Christmastown. Oh how I’m loving it.
We ended up at this delicious noodle place Lizzie and her parents had remembered from their last playtime in Kyoto, in fact her dad even honed in on it by memory despite not having been to the out-of-the-way place in over 4 years. They had great tako and ebi tempura, as well as curry udon (hint: I stole some of Lizzie’s) and I went through maybe 7 cups of tea. Mhmmm. After that was the parfait place we always admire on Sanjo-Kawaramachi, which displays honestly about 50 or more parfaits in their windows alone. The menu features over 200 parfait concoctions, which meant that we spent about 15 minutes just narrowing down on and deciding what the heck anyone wanted. I ended up with a matcha latte and a kuro goma cream cheese parfait. Never found the cream cheese (lies people, lies) but it was a tasty parfait indeed. 1 off the list, 6 to go.
We all parted ways after that, and I got home to continue the boring world that is my school work. So it was quite a day. It’s 2 am, I’m wiped and I have homework still, so oyasuminasai y’all!