In May we visited our favourite town across the water, Mojiko, for an American car swap festival. We love Mojiko, as it is a mere boat ride away but sits on a different island and feels like a completely different place. You take one step (or a short five minute boat ride) out of the most conservative prefecture in Japan, Yamaguchi, and there is a whole different vibe in Kitakyushu.
The car festival felt like an exclusive event as most people sported tattoos, fabulous hair, and ripped clothing in various shades of black. Tattoos are a big taboo in Japan, as they are widely considered, especially in our prefecture, to be linked to gang culture. Well, if the gangs were out in force at the car festival, they were certainly as relaxed and welcoming as ever!
The sun was shining on stalls selling all things car and trinket, beer and food galore, and some pretty nice cars. We enjoyed a day in the sunshine drinking Corona and listening to Macy Grey and Lauren Hill. It took me back to my childhood (not the beer, the music…) as I remembered spending summer days listening to my sisters Macy and Lauren music out of her window.
We followed the car festival with an evening of live Jazz music, a little more beer, and dessert. We found a sweet little cafe in a courtyard decorated with children’s art, sporting a live jazz band playing on the street. It felt like something out of Paris, rather than Japan. Nevertheless, I enjoyed a loose leaf Assam tea with ice cream and Dan sampled a new beer and more ice cream! It felt like the perfect way to end a day that truly felt like we had stepped out of Japan, if just for a moment.