My name is Mohammadjavad Faridafshin, I am from Iran, 29 years old, and a new PhD student in the Yusa laboratory. I am glad that Covid-19 situation improved, and I could enter Japan after more than a year of waiting. It is a little more than two weeks that I am in Japan, and I have enjoyed every day of it. On Sunday, May 15th, there was “Aoba festival” here in Sendai, and my friends planned a tour to both see the festival and introduce the city to me. This article is a short report about this experience.
It was the first time after two years of Covid-19 limitations that Sendai was having this festival, and I was lucky enough to be in the right place, at the right time. Before that, I had only seen Japanese traditional events in the movies or YouTube videos, and watching the live version was a special experience for me. We saw soldiers dressed in traditional costumes, firing traditional guns, and it was nice to see people encouraging them by clapping their hands. There were also some acrobatic performances inspired by the old firefighters, together with young dancers which was delightful for me to watch.
For lunch, we went to the Koutodai park that was full of small souvenir shops and street food takeaways. The air was full of delicious smells and people were standing in long queues to buy food. As a starter, I had “Sasa Kamaboko” a special type of fish on sticks grilled on direct fire. It was an exciting experience for me because I had not tried this type of fish before and it turned out to be a delicious one too.
Before coming to Japan, I had heard about Sushi, Sashimi, and Unagi, but I had not heard about “Takoyaki”. So, when Tomizawa san introduced it to me, I did not hesitate and joined Kako san in the line. I found its taste familiar, especially its sauce and the thin sliced dried fish on top of it. “Takoyaki” reminded me of a special type of smoked fish we have in Iran. At last, my friends showed me some shops where I can find everyday stuff necessary for a student.
As we were walking on the street, I could see the amazing scenery of Sendai with its beautiful trees and clean environment, and it was so amazing for me that I did not feel exhausted at all. I see Sendai as a great place to live and study, and I am especially grateful to be in such a supportive community in Yusa laboratory. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me and I hope I can make good use of it.