Japan and Garage Sales

Well, glad that one’s solved. I found out at a rose festival, of all things…

IMG_7937Last week was a big week for Waki! That Thursday (the 23rd) the 40th anniversary of Waki’s founding, and a ceremony was held at the Cultural Hall (文化会館) where the Board of Education office is located. Students from Waki sang songs, a girl at the elementary school did an awesome violin performance, and it was a big deal!

Then there was the Waki Rose Festival, which was the following Saturday, held up on the hill in Hachigamine. I didn’t think a lot about it beforehand–I figured the roses would be nice to see, and that’s it. I was SO surprised to find out that there were dance groups giving performances, they had a comedian who looked and sounded just like Sanma, there was were separate performances going on in the campground area, there were stall selling food, and there were stalls set up like a marketplace along one of the pathways. There were families from the Iwakuni US Marine base there, too. And yes, there were also roses. What’s funny is that even though we came for a “rose festival,” we saw the roses second-to-last after all the shopping and other stuff–and it was kind of an afterthought, like, “Oh, yeah!! The roses!”

It was at the marketplace stalls that I finally figured out the mystery of the Japanese Garage Sale. The reason it was a mystery to me was that I never see real garages here. The following is a picture I took while on a walk with some friends in Tokyo. Many residential areas are narrow like this in Japan. As a result of the lack of space (probably), garages are not attached to the house. In place of an actual “room” for your car that most Americans have, Japanese houses tend to have an overhanging-type thing. I think these two overhanging are for different houses’ cars, because they have different gates in front of them.


This is another picture I took while walking around in Tokyo. This time, you can see more clearly how the space is used:

Can you find the garage? haha

There’s obviously more space in the countryside, but I think that these types of overhangs are still used. I don’t know where you would put your car if you wanted to hold a small sale under that overhang–you’d probably have to park it in a paid lot somewhere or at a friend’s house, because there’s not a lot of space to park your car in the street. Japanese neighborhoods kind of sprawl all over the place, and it would be hard to direct people to your sale–and if you could…they’d have no place to park >< Throwing old things away in Japan is not as easy as in the US, either–for some things, you only have to wait for the right trash pick-up day to get rid of, but certain types of trash require you to pay to get rid of. Really–if you try to throw out your trash in a bag marked for a kind of trash that it’s not, then they won’t pick it up. So selling sounds like a good option.

When we were walking along the “market” shops spread out along the road at the Rose Festival, I realized something: behind many of the shops, there were cars parked, with their trunks opened.


I asked my friend Jacky about this, and she says it’s the same in England–people have “boot sales” (they call car trunks “boots”) like this. Some of the tarps and blankets spread out here had clothes and stuffed animals, and others had handmade crafts. I bought a pair of handmade doughnut earrings that are buried somewhere beneath the mess in my room right now. One man was selling different types of packaged nuts, and I got some maple-flavored cashews, too. He found it amusing that I wanted to buy stuff, because I’m American and dried nuts are, I guess, an American thing.

Since I don’t have a car (I walk or ride my bike to school), I’ll have to merge with another person’s boot sale if I want to sell my random stuff. It was a cool discovery, though! I couldn’t remember seeing something like that in Japan before, and neither could my friend. We were both surprised at the scale of this event. Now that I know what it is, I definitely want to tell lots of people about it next year!

Oh yeah, and remember the dinosaurs? We’re good friends now^^

See how happy he looks?

Song of the Day: Lindsay Sterling, “Zelda Medley.” Students can request music to be played over the intercom during lunch, and it’s usually J-pop and K-pop, but I asked to have this song played, along with the London Philharmonic’s Super Mario Theme. I wonder if anyone thought it was cool…? I want to know…!

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