Think about an event you’ve attended and loved. Your hometown’s annual fair. That life-changing music festival. A conference that shifted your worldview. Imagine you’re told it will be cancelled forever or taken over by an evil corporate force. How does that make you feel? Today’s twist: While writing this post, focus again on your own voice. Pay attention to your word choice, tone, and rhythm. Read each sentence aloud multiple times, making edits as you read through. Before you hit “Publish,” read your entire piece out loud to ensure it sounds like you.
How could they do that to matsuri? It was the one thing I looked forward to every year. It was free to get in. After paying for parking and food and gas, the free admission was what kept me driving across town with a full car and the determination to be patient with the crowds. The weather was perfect that time of year on top of it all!
First Chase bought out all sponsorship of the event, causing a lot of us to avoid it just on principle. Then they started charging an admission fee. Can you believe it? I stopped going to the renaissance faire because it cost too much to get in. Estrella now costs as much per person as it used to cost for an entire family to get in. I can hardly afford passports, let alone tickets to fly to Japan. Matsuri was my one outlet to participate in something I love– and to do so without going bankrupt! And now the tradition of being free is gone!
I suppose some things are better left to memories; the crowds were getting to be too much anyway. Plenty of people are willing to pay for the privilege of crowding the streets with new anime fans and Nipponophiles. Me, no so much. I still love the culture, but not the crowds. Is it wrong to be disappointed that it is the same thing every year?
Matsuri was how I discovered the Buddhist temple that I went to for a while. It was where I watched my dojo give martial arts demonstrations (while wishing that my back had not given up on me). I have gone there with friends and family and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I have recommended that others go. And now what? Am I to content myself with the memories? Even if matsuri is cancelled, they cannot take away the temples or the markets, can they? I still love those. I can still cook certain recipes. There is a rotary sushi place now. I can sign up for martial arts again.
Take the Japanese festival away if you will, but you cannot take away everything that I got from it. Certainly you cannot rob me of everything that made me want to go in the first place. I love what I love, and passion is not something that a corporation can simply snuff out!