神輿 (みこし)

A palanquin put on display and carried around the neighborhood surrounding a Shinto shrine during a festival. Believed to serve as a carrier for the resident god (kami); thus, the procession around the shrine allows that kami’s goodwill and protection to be spread to the neighborhood

One of the mikoshi at the Hie Shrine in Tokyo, carried as part of the Sanno Matsuri


屋台 (やたい)

1) A food cart found at a festival

A row of food yatai at the Sanja Matsuri in Tokyo

2) A float pulled/drawn as part of a mikoshi procession during a festival

The difference in the usage of the term seems to be regional. #2 is used in the Chichibu area, for example, for the Chichibu Yo-matsuri (hence the well-known festival music Chichibu yatai-bayashi). However, in other parts of Japan dashi seems to be a more common term for definition #2.

A yatai drawn as part of the procession during the Chichibu Yo-matsuri

yoroshiku onegai shimasu

よろしくお願いします (よろしくおねがいします)

“be good to me – this wish – do for me” or “please be good to me”; basically, an exchange of good will between parties and a phrase said at the start of an endeavor, e.g. a workshop or practice session; the connotation is one of asking permission to participate in training or to be a part of the group; a taiko group will often begin their practices this way, accompanied by a bow to show respect for each other and the activity they are about to commence together


お疲れ様 (おつかれさま)

“thanks for your fatigue/effort”; term used to acknowledge someone’s work on your behalf or to indicate appreciation for the effort expended in helping you or working with you; often said as a group at the end of a practice, class or workshop in the past tense = otsukaresama-deshita