Last weekend was Beppu’s biggest summer festival – the Hi No Umi (translating roughly to ‘sea of fire’) Festival. It takes place every year at the end of July, and has festival stands selling food and toys, music and dance performances, and the main event – fireworks!
One of the things I was most surprised to find that Beppu had in the surrounding area when I got here was the African Safari. Although it’s located a bit further away from the central city area, it’s still a popular tourist spot and a good way to spend half a day or so, plus you can get there by bus from Beppu Station.
But the best thing about it? You can feed the animals!!
After sakura season comes “ido” season, which I experienced for the first time this year.
“Ido” means ‘change’, which is a fitting word to describe April, as both the fiscal year and the school year actually start in April, unlike back home where the school year starts in September. This is why in a lot of anime or manga, at graduation or school entrance time for the characters, there’ll be cherry blossoms everywhere, rather than autumn leaves.
So, April is a month of new beginnings for both children and adults, with children starting a new school year, or depending on their age, starting at a new school entirely, and for adults, a lot of companies have their new employees (especially newly-graduated new employees) start in April. For the already established employees, there’s “jinji ido” (人事異動), which can be translated as the “personnel reshuffle” or “staff reassignment”.