Working as a Fukumusume (福娘): The Tōka Ebisu Festival (十日戎) 2013 - Vikingess Voyages

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Working as a Fukumusume (福娘): The Tōka Ebisu Festival (十日戎) 2013

Last year I got elected as one of fifty girls who got the honor of participating as a Fukumusume, a sort of shrine maiden, in the Tōka Ebisu festival taking place annually in January in the Imamiya Ebisu shrine in Osaka (you can find my Fukumusume blog posts here).
Although they elect new Fukumusume girls every year, they also let previous Fukumusume who volunteer for it come back to the shrine to participate in the festival, and working as a Fukumusume last year was such a fun experience that I couldn't avoid stopping by Kansai for a couple of days to take part in the big festival again.

This time I stayed with Yuma's family in Kobe, which is quite close to Osaka by train. As I mentioned in my previous post Yuma had already gone back to Tokyo to start working again, so this was actually my first time to stay with his family without him being there.
On the morning of the Tōka Ebisu festival I went with Yuma's mother to a 美容院 close by to his house, where they had agreed to help putting on my kimono and fixing my hair. Any of you with experience in putting on kimonos would know how difficult this is, and there is absolutely no way that I could have done this myself.
I have no chance at putting on a kimono myself.. Good thing there are professionals.
Arriving at the Imamiya Ebisu shrine a couple of hours later I was ready for another fun and unique experience. This time we were about 17 of the original 50 fukumusume who participated in the festival, and among the 17 we were two foreigners; my friend and fellow SKP-student India had also joined us, she actually travelled all the way from Canada to participate in the festival again!
Getting ready for the festival. This time we had to go without the eboshi hat though.

Ritsumeikan Fukumusume! Oh yeah! x)
外国人の福娘 in action^^

Participating in the festival felt a bit different from last year; First of all there had been an election of 50 new Fukumusume girls, and second-year Fukumusume usually don't get the chance to wear the traditional golden hat (the eboshi) worn by the other Fukumusume girls. Also, while the new Fukumusume girls have work from 9 am to 9 pm three days in a row we only worked from 11 am to 4 pm so it was quite relaxing compared to last year. This also gave us the chance to take more time after work to actually look around and enjoy the festival a bit more.
Money for good luck! 
For some reason I also ended up being interviewed by an NHK-program called "50 voice" (50ボイス), where they are doing interviews with young people all over Japan. However, as only 50 of the 100 interviewed people actually are included in the TV-sendt part I'm not sure if I'll be in it or not. After all they did interview the other Fukumusume girl too, so it is kind of likely that they will choose to cut one of us out. Which most likely would be me I think. Anyway, the magical date is the 28th of February! Although I'm not sure whether to look forward to this or not, I feel a bit embarrassed about it.. Among other things they asked me about Japanese men, and all I could think of then and there was the stereotype of the so-called sōshoku danshi (草食男子, or "plant-eating" men, which refers to men who are afraid to approach women etc etc). 恥ずかしい. Yet another reason why they probably would cut me out, haha.
Getting interviewed for NHK's TV show 50ボイス
Ahhh, the new fukumusume looks so dazzling with her shiny hat! I'm totally jealous! Haha^^
I also got the chance to have a chat with one of the new gaijin Fukumusume girls. Italian beauty and さすがに from Ritsumeikan ;D 
Well well. I got some good pictures (sorry for the overload of pictures of me in this post btw><) and a lot of great memories this year too. Not to mention that I had a lot of fun, and I'm already look forward to next years' festival!

Now I'm in Tokyo, where I'm staying until the 1st of February. Then it's back to Korea, where I'll be taking a 3-week intensive course in Korean at Yonsei University! ^^

Lastly, a big thanks to Yuma's family who once again took so good care of me:)
Place Imamiya Ebisu Shrine (今宮戎神社)
Festival Toka Ebisu Festival (十日戎祭り)
held annually on January 9th-11th
Access A couple of minutes walk from the Imamiyaebisu station
(今宮戎) or around 5 minutes from Daikokucho (大国町) station

Recommended Hotels in Osaka

Osaka Marriott Miyako Hotel
Osaka Marriott Miyako Hotel
Superhotel Lohas Honmachi
Superhotel Lohas Honmachi
Khaosan World Namba
Khaosan World Namba
The St. Regis Osaka Hotel
The St. Regis Osaka Hotel

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About Anette
Anette came to Japan as an exchange student in 2010, met the love of her life and got stuck. From her base in Tokyo she writes about her experiences as a full-time worker in Tokyo and about her travels in Japan and abroad. She's a free-spirited adventurer who enjoys both the great outdoors and her urban lifestyle.

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Adventures ofAnette

A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
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