Sunday, July 12, 2015

Matsuri Weekend

Rokugatsu-tou is a big local festival held in July, with events at various locations around the city during the entire month. I didn't know this before - I've always thought that it was something that mainly occurred at Terukuni Shrine near my apartment, 2 evenings in July. Actually, I encountered 2 separate events this weekend that were both related to Rokugatsu-tou..

(Local merchant and announcer)

The first was in Tenmonkan, in the Nayadouri (Naya Street) area that's currently celebrating their 400th anniversary. It was a fairly small event set in the middle of the walkways, consisting of some live music, followed by a bunch of men carrying the Naya mikoshi (portable shrine) through the area. I discovered this one by accident as I was walking by during my break on Saturday. I had a lot of freelance work that I'd accepted over the weekend, so I didn't have the option to hang around very long to tape anything. On the other hand, the one band I saw played soft folk ballads, and that didn't really appeal to me much.

(The last band for the afternoon.)

(The Ookuninushi Jinja (shrine) the Kinsei festival is tied to.)

At the end of the day, I swung by the intersection of Streetcar and Izuro streets, where I knew the second event was going to be. One of the people, an American, I'd met last year at the Nihongo culture classes works as a baker for his father-in-law's shop, and he was recruited to make yakisoba for the matsuri last year, and again this year. He sent me an email letting me know the matsuri was going to happen if it wasn't rained out, so I headed there after my last Saturday class. The guy introduced me to several of the merchants running the food booths, and I got some free beer and edamame out of it. Unfortunately, while it was scheduled to run until 10 PM both nights, the shops decided to shut down at 8:30 PM.

(It didn't rain this time, but the sky was heavily overcast, and there are 5 typhoons currently aimed at the city. We'll probably be hit by at least one of them in the coming week. The heavy clouds made for poor photos.)

I returned home, had dinner and killed time before going to bed. The next morning, I focused on finishing the contract work (translation clean up). I got caught up at 5:30 PM, and ran back down to Izuro street, where the stage shows were alternating between rock-paper-scissors contests for giving away snack packages to kids, and live music.

(One of the live music groups.)

I stayed until 7 PM, then returned home for dinner. I couldn't get back to Izuro street until 8:30 PM again, and, again, the merchants had decided to shut down early. When I got there, all the food and kitchen gear were gone and half of the booth tents were being dismantled. A bit disappointing, but I did still get a little more free beer earlier in the afternoon, which was good.

(Janken-man (rock-paper-scissors man) is visible in the lower right corner.)

I'm not sure who the below band is. I think I heard them introduced as Lovelace, but I may be wrong. They're a local trio that plays at "live houses" here (bars that host live bands). They were pretty good, although it's still not really my kind of sound.

Direct youtube link

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