Have you ever wondered how much Japanese people know about your own country? Of course you have! It is true that many Japanese are interested mostly in English speaking countries and France (← almost EVERYONE wants to go there), but there’s a number of people interested in Eastern Europe too (though I like to think that Poland is exactly in the middle, therefore it’s in Central Europe). 2 years ago, a lovely older lady — Chika-san — contacted me, saying she loves Chopin and Poland, and that she’d like to start studying Polish. I started teaching her and today she can speak a little bit, we hang out and go to events together, she’s like a mom to me. 1,5 year ago I met Ayaka — a girl interested in Poland, and today we’re the best of friends. You might also want to check out Shinya Ayama’s page — he’s an artist from Kyoto, who is absolutely in love with Poland! We met last year in Tokyo and I just couldn’t believe how determined he was to live in Poland one day. Anyway! The first Polish Festival was held 2 years ago and it was a big success. I attended it last year and I couldn’t miss it this year!
Polish Festival in Roppongi 2014
The festival took place in Roppongi, and if you don’t know what kind of place Roppongi is, let me hit you with the facts. When you’re here, you feel as if you aren’t in Japan, because the number of foreigners on the street is much higher than anywhere else in Tokyo. It’s one of the main clubbing areas, many foreign businesspeople live here (their companies pay the steep rent) and there are many fun events. It’s quite nice. During the daytime.
As you can see there were quite a few Japanese people! I didn’t count, but I guess there were about 15 Polish people? (I guess Japan is one of those rare countries, where there are not so many of us, I guess it’s no more than 1200 people in total? ← it’s a wild guess, I don’t have any real data)
A beautiful Japanese lady playing Chopin. Perfect!
Some nostalgic Polish stuff — Christmas tree ornaments (our Christmas ornaments come in different shapes, not just your run-of-the-mill round ones), wool slippers (there’s nothing better to keep you warm in winter) and accessories with traditional Polish embroidery. What I really like about Japanese people is that they LOVE handmade things and they don’t mind paying more for them — they really appreciate someone’s hard work.
You can’t see it here, but this particular stall was the most popular. It’s still a mystery for me why Polish pottery is so desired in Japan, but naturally, I’m very happy. Chika-san collects Polish apple pots — I had absolutely no idea that we had them in Poland, until she told me. Oops…
Polish board games I used to play as a kid — it felt so surreal to see them translated into Japanese. Never in my life had I thought I would see that.
CDs with classical music and sweets — my heart hurt seeing the prices. In Poland I would pay about 100~200¥ for a chocolate bar or instant hot chocolate… Here it was 2500¥! Still cheaper than a flight ticket to Poland, though.
Decorated eggs, papercutting art, bags, pillows and tons of accessories made in Poland.
The best part….
FOOD & DRINKS!
I missed fruit beer so much! It’s so delicious, I still can’t understand why is this not a thing in Japan !? We have apple, raspberry, citrus, caramel and many other flavours of beer. Go to any bar in Poland and order ‘beer with juice’ — you’ll get a delicious cocktail, beer plus a little bit of strawberry or raspberry juice concentrate. Trust me — IT’S SO GOOD!
Many types of sausage, bread, sour rye soup, bigos (= hunter’s stew) and other deliciousness… It is virtually impossible to get this stuff in Japan. Oh how happy I was to taste them again. However! I mentioned in the video that the sour rye soup we got tasted strange, but I didn’t explain why. We got instant soup, that’s why. I understand it is difficult to cook it from scratch in Japan, but they could have put in an ounce of effort to prepare it better. Just saying.
This has to be the strangest meal I ever had. Raspberry beer and a rose jam doughnut. I totally recommend it though!
I left Poland on the 30th of June 2011. I visited once, in September the same year. I guess you know the rest of the story (if not, please check this post). Of course I miss it… sometimes. I miss speaking my native language, eating delicious Polish food, hanging around cozy cafes and pubs. I guess you only really start appreciating how delicious your national cuisine is after you leave your country. I think that Polish bread and Polish meat are second to none and our soups are so good, I can’t really find a better adjective to describe them.
You know what makes me happy? Japanese people don’t have a bad image of Poland. They say “Poland? Chopin, Walesa, cold winter, beautiful pottery”. Some of them even know Andrzej Wajda or Roman Polanski. Now they also know that we have awesome food. Well, at least those who attended the 3rd edition of the Polish Festival.
And what do you think Japanese people think about your country? Leave a comment if you like (I always read them, but it takes a lot of time for me to reply, sorry about that!)
Thank you for reading!♥