Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Warau Matsuri

(One of the stages being set up in the main walkway)

The thing about Japan as a whole, and Kagoshima in particular, is that there's always a good chance of discovering something completely by accident. On the 26th, when I was walking in to the IBS graduating student speech event and the associated Design Festa, I had to stop at the grocery store to pick up bread for breakfast the next morning. Rather than follow my regular route downtown 4 blocks farther west, I continued from the store and went into the Tenmonkan shopping complex. Turns out they were having their "Smile Festival" that day, and I would never have known about it if I hadn't gone out of my way to get breakfast rolls.

(Hanging banner made by junior high students)

In the main open space in Tenmonkan, some tables were set up to sell goods for the local pro basketball and soccer teams. In the background, you can see one of the contests being held for prizes - kids trying to see who can kick a soccer ball into the air the most number of times.

A parade of Lucky Gods.

School marching band.

Pounding rice into mochi. Children were encouraged to try their hands at swinging the wooden mallets onto the rice cake, so their parents could take pictures.

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