Ghea Ghaitsa-INA AKP to Japan YP 22/23
I’m Ghea Ghaitsa. It’s been 3 months since I came to Japan as an exchange student from Indonesia. I got my placement in Nagoya, the capital of Aichi prefecture. I’ve been in Japan since June 2022, exploring another country that has such a big difference from my country. Everything is different, either from culture, food, language and also people. Being an exchange student might be the best decision that I ever made because I can experience new things that I couldn’t before. One of the experiences is summer vacation.15 July 2022, the first day of summer vacation. In my current country, Indonesia, there’s no summer vacation. Because of the tropical climate, Indonesia only has 2 seasons, the dry season (April to October ) and the monsoon season (November to March). I was surprised that we spent almost a month on summer vacation. I think this is one of the longest vacations I’ve ever experienced. Actually, I don’t have any plans for summer vacation, so I decided to join the Kyudo club to fill my empty days. I made a lot of friends because of the club and sometimes we also hung out together after club.
Sunday, July 23rd, me and my host family went to Kyoto for Gion matsuri. The Gion Festival (祇園祭, Gion Matsuri) takes place annually during the month of July in Kyoto and is one of the most famous and largest festivals in Japan.It is formally a Shinto festival, and its original purposes were purification and pacification of disease-causing entities.There are many ceremonies held during the festival, but it is best known for its two Yamaboko Junkō (山鉾巡行) processions of floats, which take place on July 17 and 24. Many festival events take place in central Kyoto and at the Yasaka Shrine. The Yasaka Shrine is the festival’s patron shrine. It is located in Kyoto’s famous Gion district, which gives the festival its name. A matsuri float (山車, dashi or sansha) is a general term for a float that is pulled or carried during a festival in Japan. They are often gorgeously decorated with flowers and dolls. It is also called Hikiyama
When we arrived there, it was crowded! Kyoto is a big city but I am still surprised. People are prepared for the festival and there are also lots of people just passing by. The city was filled by lanterns of the floats.
They also rehearsed, played the instrument, and also testing the float if it was able to move around. That day, we walked a lot but it was really fun that every street are crowded with people who wanted to see the rehearsal. At that time I was tired but suddenly became excited because my host mother said that we were going to wear Yukata at night and go along to the parade. Wearing a Yukata while at the festival was one of my wish lists to do in Japan! At 6 pm, we go back to the hotel and get ready for the parade. I can’t remember how to wear a Yukata and luckily my host mother’s sister can do it well. She helps us wear it and it turns out beautiful! I’m so satisfied.
I can’t explain how happy I was here! It’s like living in a dream! Walk around the city during the parade wearing a Yukata. Best of the best! I felt like I was an お姫様 (ohimesama) which means “Princess”. You know the feeling when you were little, you wore a dress that looks like a princess dress. That was exactly how I would be at that time. We show our best smiles ever, joy in our eyes, and even the temperature in our fingers changing. That night was filled with lanterns that illuminate the city, heartbeat along with the instruments that played delightful steps.
After spending almost 4 hours at the festival, we decided to come back to the hotel because it was getting too late. We walked a lot that night, and of course, it paid for one of my wish lists to come true!
It’s been almost 4 months since I came to Japan. There are still 6 months to go. A new journey is waiting for me, it can be good and sometimes can also go bad. it’s okay, the wheel of life is spinning, we must enjoy our life!
Thank you for your time! ありがとうございます！