A couple months ago, I got an inquiry from someone (from Belgium!) about bunkasai. FC is going to Japan this fall with his girlfriend, who is a big anime fan, and, after reading my 2012 post about the Komazawa Girls’ School Festival, wanted to ask if I could provide any information on locating a bunkasai to take her.
I have to commend FC for going the extra mile for his girlfriend. Unfortunately, I couldn’t give him the help he needed. School festivals are small local events, and you really need someone who is Japanese fluent to find them. I definitely am NOT Japanese fluent, and if it weren’t for the kind efforts of my Okinawan friend, we never would have found the Komajo bunkasai.
Fortunately for FC, he was somehow able to learn that Todai is having a festival during the time of their trip so he’ll be able to treat his girlfriend to a university-style festival in November. (Yay!)
I’m not sure how FC wrangled that information from the Internet, but my husband also orchestrated a bunkasai visit on his last business trip all by himself.
Well… almost by himself. The visit was made possible by two things. One, he was in Japan at the right time. Bunkasai generally take place in the fall, with high school festivals at the earlier end and university events scheduled later. Two, even though he didn’t have our Okinawan friend scouring the Internet in advance of his trip, he did have the concierge of his Nagoya hotel. They decided to humor his request and sent him off with printed directions to Nagoya Women’s University.
The festival, the school’s 66th, was also a kind of open house for prospective students. Nagoya Women’s University teaches fashion so one of the events was a fashion show. You can see a couple of the models from the fashion show next to the local mascot, who was also in attendance.
Overall, the university, which also has an associated primary, middle, and high school, wasn’t quite as posh an establishment as Komajo, and everything was on a proportionally smaller scale. While a celebrity (whom I didn’t recognize) was included in the lineup, the main stage events also included simple magic tricks by a white-haired gentleman. (My husband couldn’t tell if he was a faculty member or maybe someone’s uncle.)
We are hoping the next time we manage a bunkasai visit it can be to a coed or boys’ school. It just so happened that the only festivals open to the public where we visited were girls’ schools. There’s nothing wrong with girls’ school per se, but it does make it more awkward for my husband to try to strike up a conversation with the students, especially if I’m not with him. And it would be interesting to see if there are differences. Perhaps FC will put up a blog post after his Todai visit and let us all know 🙂