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Matsuri - Japanese summer festivals

July 29, 2018

I was wondering what I was going to do this afternoon. I had spent the morning sorting through my "stuff" and packing up some boxes to mail home. Otherwise I would need a couple extra suitcases. That isn't an option. I'm sure that even with the upgrade, the airline would charge me a fortune, not to mention the expense of having to buy suitcases. I planned to work on final grading this evening, but wanted a break in the afternoon? 

 

An answer always presents itself if you pay attention. I had the balcony door open because when the typhoon blew through last night, it blew some of the heat away. It's still hot out there but not sizzling. I heard a noise ... lots of people shouting. I stepped out to see what was going on. I saw this procession coming down the street from the left.

 

Aha! Summer is festival time in Japan. Summer festivals, also known as matsuri, are held all over Japan from July through August. Most festivals are annual traditions, and intended to celebrate the gods, the seasons, and historical events and many include a parade of sorts with portable shrines - known as mikoshi.  People bear the mikoshi on their shoulders by means of two, four (or sometimes, rarely, six) poles. They bring the mikoshi from the shrine, carry it around the neighborhoods that worship at the shrine, shaking it up and down and shouting as they go. I remembered seeing a sign that their would be a Minato-ku festival this weekend.

 

 Then I heard more noise, coming from another direction.  Turned and saw this group coming from the street on the right. This one was a smaller group, mostly children and featured a big taiko drum rather than a mikoshi.

 

 

 And as they each slowly moved forward, amid the traffic, I realized that this was going to happen.

 

 

No problem ... except for the traffic. The groups waved and shouted at each other. The group with the drum kept moving and soon the went into a community center building on the street behind the canal. The bigger group, with the mikoshi, put it down and dispersed very quickly. I thought they were done. The crowd had thinned. Some were resting in the shade of a tree. Others were lined up on the railing next to the street.

 

 

 

So I took a few more pictures ... enjoying being outside in some fresh, not overwhelmingly hot air, then went inside to download my photos. That's when I heard a noise again ... the big group wasn't done. They were just hydrating to get ready for the next few blocks. 

 

Think I'll take a walk and see where they went!


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POSTSCRIPT:

As I was leaving the apartment to see if I could find the festival group, I heard a lot of noise. They were right in front of m building! Took this shot from the 8th floor window.

 

Halfway down the block they took a rest stop and I was able to get some close up pictures, as well as a chunk of ice and a pickled plum from one of the ladies handling refreshments for the group. After a brief rest and rehydration, they picked it up and off they went again.

 

 

 

 When I got to the station I heard even more noise ... and found a taiko drumming group in action.

 

 And I know at the beginning of this, I said it wasn't so hot outside. Well ... by the time I got home I was dripping with sweat. I know why the mikoshi carriers took frequent breaks.

 

 

 

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