Just like last year, we had a shokihara at work to celebrate summer. Unlike last year, nobody wore yukatas. Too bad. I was all set to wear mine, had it sitting on my desk in a bag and everything, but every time I looked down from my office, no yukatas. What I did see were a whole lot of preparations that started as early as 2 pm.
Crucial to the evening's success was the big block of ice sitting there in the middle. Part of the block was used for shaved ice, but this chunk here in the middle is just for looks. "If we look at it, we become cool" is what I was told.
Someone has got to mind the melons.
At about 6pm the action really started happening, so I went down to join the fun. The man cooking the yakisoba here was the organizer of the event. He is definitely the hardest working man in summer parties. He never stops.
Here are some barbecued squid. I wish I liked these more because they are at every festival, but they smell a little funny to me.
Here my friend Tasaka-san (PhD student in our lab) ladles out some oden soup. I think she gave me the last of the chunks, though. Oishi!
At dusk the games begin. Those melons weren't just for eating. Here the blindfolded person tries to hit the watermelon with the bat, while avoiding the minefield of dummy balloons filled with water. The man on the microphone talks him through it. He only gets one try, so the alignment has to be perfect. Two seconds after I snapped this picture, he whacked the heck out of that green balloon. Next!
And no celebration would be complete without some tasty meats on sticks. Hey, there is the organizer again, this time on yakitori duty.
And for dessert, shaved ice with red beans, tapioca pearls, peaches, pineapples, green tea syrup and coconut milk. What? I was only supposed to pick a couple of toppings? Oops.