Let’s Santa!

Today was the 冬フェス (Fuyu Fesu = Winter Festival) opening day in Hamamatsu. I went along to see what it was all about and was happy to see so much Christmas in the air… well, so many santas anyway!  Surprisingly, there weren’t that many people there. I think the event wasn’t advertised that well, to be honest. I heard about it from a co-worker and then picked up a leaflet in the supermarket, but I didn’t see any posters or anything until today.

冬フェス Hamamatsu 2010

As I said, there were a lot of santas around. All of the staff were wearing santa costumes, and it was quite amusing to watch them.

冬フェス Hamamatsu 2010

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冬フェス Hamamatsu 2010

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冬フェス Hamamatsu 2010

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Santa at Starbucks...

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冬フェス Hamamatsu 2010

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When the countdown happened and the festival was officially opened, the host asked that everybody shout “Let’s santa!“, which I found very amusing, and typical of Japan. You can just about catch it on this video:

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冬フェス Hamamatsu 2010
The first musical act were a group of men who did a nice cover of one of my favourite Christmas songs, “Christmas Eve” (originally sung by Tatsuro Yamashita).

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冬フェス Hamamatsu 2010
The main attraction was a famous J-Pop singer called Tiara. Unfortunately, photos and videos weren’t allowed during her performance. I really liked one of her songs, called “Girls be ambitious!“, so I bought her CD after the show and she signed it for me.

Tiara's signed CD

Here she is on YouTube:

Sadly, after Tiara’s performance most of the audience left, but I hung around until the end. I’m glad I did, because the next act was a gospel act which I really enjoyed. The lead woman was so energetic!

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Gospel choir

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Gospel choir

The last act on were called Crane. They were pretty good, but I felt bad for them because most of the audience was gone by the time they played.

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Crane

During their act, they asked the santas to wave their hats, which was amusing…

Swing those santa hats!

I couldn’t quite understand why Tiara was on in the middle of all these less-popular acts, and thought she should have been the headliner really. That way, people would have stayed until the end. It was a really fun event, so it was a shame that more people didn’t show up.

Part of the Winter Festival is the Hamamatsu Light Object Contest. I spotted a few of the “light objects” on the way home.

冬フェス Hamamatsu 2010

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冬フェス Hamamatsu 2010

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冬フェス Hamamatsu 2010

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冬フェス Hamamatsu 2010

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冬フェス Hamamatsu 2010

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冬フェス Hamamatsu 2010

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冬フェス Hamamatsu 2010

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冬フェス Hamamatsu 2010

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冬フェス Hamamatsu 2010

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冬フェス Hamamatsu 2010

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As I may have complained before, Christmas in Japan is actually a bit rubbish. This event was fun, but Hamamatsu’s Christmas decorations don’t look that spectacular to be honest, and there’s no tree.

冬フェス Hamamatsu 2010

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Hamamatsu Station

I love Christmas, and I was heartbroken the first year here to discover how quickly it’s all over in Japan. It starts to creep in as soon as Halloween is over, but then it’s all gone by the end of December 25th. I was happy to hear that this Winter Festival in Hamamatsu will last until January 10th, but I expect all traces of santas will be gone by then.

So, I’ll take this rather early opportunity to wish you all a very Happy Christmas!  メリークリスマス! *<[:{)

(Whole photo collection on Flickr, as usual.)

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