Saturday, November 5, 2011

Ohara Matsuri, day 2

The second day of the Ohara festival reportedly started at 10 AM. I got out of the apartment and went to check it out at 1 PM. In part, I was trying to avoid the expected crowds. Previous reports put attendance at 600,000, but I don't think day 2 was any where near that. On the other hand, the entire parade route had people lined up three deep on each side of the street, making getting good photos fairly difficult. I had to hold the camera over everyone's heads and push the button pretty much at random. At this point, the parade consisted of marching brass bands and a few flag and baton twirlers. A few of the groups were made up of adults, others came from elementary and junior high schools.

Kagoshima's tourist bureau mascot characters. You can see some of them painted on the truck in back. The one with the stuffed dog is Takamori Saigo.

Several shops had set up stalls along tram street and in Tenmonkan. This particular table is selling gyoza and sweet buns.

Nothing says "tradition" like women in straw hats talking on cell phones.

There was a break at 1:30. Then at 2, several taiko groups set up at intervals along Izuro and Tram streets and played for about 15 minutes. This was followed by more of the traditional dancing that was featured the night before.

Down near City Hall, there's a 2-3 block-long plaza that is occasionally used for small festivals. This time, it was a children's play area, with stalls selling snack foods, local produce and toys. Other stalls had travel information. A stage in the middle of the plaza was used for costume plays. The play at 2:30 PM was a silly version of an Edo-era action drama. For the most part, it consisted of the characters holding poses while one actor lip-synced a speech over the PA.

The festival was scheduled to run until 5 PM, but the wind shifted and blew the ash from Sakura-jima into the city at about 4 PM, reducing visibility and covering everyone in soot. The dancers had to struggle with their performances with one hand over their mouths. I returned to the apartment early to take a shower.

I was able to record one of the taiko songs and upload it to youtube.


bartman905 said...

Great coverage. I missed this festival, looks like a big one. Loved the taiko video as well. Thanks for sharing.

TSOTE said...

Thanks for dropping by, bartman. Yeah, it was pretty big. And it was fun. Can't wait for the next one. Thanks also for the comments.