This past Wednesday, approximately 0.5% of the population of Tottori attended the annual TIME Festival. It was a first for me, though I'd been meaning to go for several years and had always been otherwise occupied. That it seemed to me like everyone and their brother crammed into the Torigin Bunka Kaikan impressed on me how little of the community I'm acquainted with. I can't have exchanged words with 5% of the city in the past five years, which is a shame because my job requires me to internationalize. I guess I should get out more.
At any rate, the event was remarkably successful considering it was held on a Wednesday (Labour Thanksgiving Day, a national holiday in no way related to the American Thanksgiving) rather than on a weekend as it normally is. The weather was chilly (almost chilly enough to kill off the mosquitoes!) but all was boisterous inside the expanse of the culture hall, where the main plaza showcased music and dance performances and the perimeter was flanked with tables representing various countries and their goods and comestibles. In attendance I met almost everyone in the city who either is from another country or cares to know anybody from another country. (Apologies to anyone who falls into either category and didn't happen to be there; remember it took five laps around the sun and as many personal invitations before I betook myself to the event.)
Yours truly featured in a panel discussion on child rearing and gender equality, topics about which he knows less than nothing and amply demonstrated so, and otherwise had a good time meandering about the booths and munching on tasty world snacks (which were gone by the time the panel discussion ended, with the exception of a handful of dried dates).
The highlights for me personally were genuine quesadillas, which I hadn't tasted in many years; sweet and rich French cakes of a flavour I simply can't describe; and an Andean folk music ensemble in which the panpipes were particularly refreshing. There was something there for everyone and actually not really enough hours to fully take in the whole thing.
Now that I've actually been there I can say with confidence that if you happen to be in Tottori at this time of year, you really shouldn't miss it.