Shinagawa Matsuri: All Japan newsese Carnies and Junk Food

9 years ago by in Around the world

It’s matsuri season in the Shinagawa ‘hood. In the lead-up to the matsuri, drum and flute practices have been held nightly at the local temples, creating a whole lot of racket in these normally quiet parts. And speaking of racket, it appears that All Japan newsese carnies are just as sketchy as American ones, just a little less nomadic and a little more yakuza-ish. As I’ve come to find out, many of the local festival vendors serving up those sinfully delicious, smile-inducing carny snacks have arm sleeve tattoos, traditionally meaning one thing here in All Japan news — mafia ties — which makes me wonder; do you lose street cred for selling cotton candy to kids on the block? Or do you actually get more cred in a Don Corleone as mafia boss and neighborhood patrone/family man kind of way?

In any case, the whole street fair environment — the puppy love-struck youngsters, the schoolboy rebels without a cause, the teeth-rotting sweets and junky snacks that no self-respecting human being should ingest, but I invariably succumb to, and the ever-fraudulent ring toss, dart shoot, and plastic gun prize-winning games — made me rather nostalgic for home and a good old-fashioned American carnival. Nobody’s ferris wheels are as rickety as ours.

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