The fair comes to town!

Trip Start Dec 27, 2011
Trip End Apr 25, 2012

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Flag of Japan  , Nagano,
Saturday, January 14, 2012

Today Adam and I went up to the farm with Joe where we trashed all kinds of vegetable seeds (arugula, sunflowers, beans, radish, lettuce, parsley). It was a short day and we were back home by 4. 
 We came home to the town's Daruma Festival, which was a nice surprise! A few of the streets were lined with vendors selling food, Daruma dolls, candy, etc. We sampled the food of course! First we tried a pancake type cake with chocolate in the middle. Next we went for a whole squid on a stick (300 yen). Third we tried what looked like a large taco. It had a crepe like shell filled with shredded cabbage, corn, an egg, and carrot brushed with sauce. And as if we hadn't had enough, we tried an udon soup which was our favorite of the bunch. It was broth with udon noodle, a few vegetables, and a fried udon and shrimp cake on top. Very tasty! 
You are probably wonder what a Daruma doll is. Here is some information from Wikipedia:

The Daruma doll (達磨 daruma?), also known as a Dharma doll, is a hollow, round, Japanese traditional doll modeled after Bodhidharma, the founder of the Zen sect of Buddhism. These dolls, though typically red and depicting a bearded man (Dharma), vary greatly in color and design depending on region and artist. Though considered an omocha, meaning toy, Daruma has a design that is rich in symbolism and is regarded more as a talisman of good luck to the Japanese. Daruma dolls are seen as a symbol of perseverance and good luck, making them a popular gift of encouragement. The doll has also been commercialized by many Buddhist temples to use alongside goal setting.
Bodhidharma is believed to have been born as the third son to a king in South India.[4] He then, following the instructions of his old master, left his kingdom to live in China. He immediately gained a reputation for, among other things, his practice of wall-gazing. Chapin mentions that the legend also claims that he sat facing a wall in meditation for a period of nine years without moving, which caused his legs to fall off from atrophy.[5] Another popular legend is that after falling asleep during his nine-year mediation, he became angry with himself and cut off his eyelids to avoid ever falling asleep again. His discarded eyelids are said to have sprouted the first tea plant.

It is a tradition in the New Year people purchase a Dharuma doll (they very in size and price 300-7000 yen). They come with the eyes unpainted as you can see the picture. When you set a goal or make a wish you paint in one eye. When the goal is reached or the wish comes true, you paint in the other eye and place it in the festival bonfire the following year. There was a huge pile of dolls, which they just kept adding to the bonfires when they got low. The festival runs all weekend. 
As we walked around the festival we came across makeshift wrestling ring in which a tag team match took place. A video is posted for your enjoyment! 

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Brad on

I seen that one part of Japan got a huge snowfall, did you guys get it too?

Rylan says "Happy Monkey's day"

Turd Monger on

I want to eat the chocolate filled pancake! Bring me one back :)

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