Friday, August 14, 2015

Obon Odori




Honganji temple near Tenmonkan had announcements set up a week in advance for their odori taikai (dance festival) on the 8th. That was a Saturday, when I normally have to work. But, one of my classes was cancelled so I got out early. I took a couple photos at 6:30, when things were just getting started. But, most of the activities at that point were in the auditorium inside the building and consisted of a character stage show for the children. I was expecting the taikai to be similar to what they had last year, and I made the mistake of not looking closer at the schedule before heading home to grab supper. I returned to Honganji at 9 PM, and the workers were already half way through tearing the stage down.



Given that the Obon (a one-week period in which people visit their home towns to pay respects to their ancestors) odori usually takes place at night, I was really surprised that it ended so fast. It didn't get dark until maybe 7:30, and there would only have been time for a couple dances if they shut down at 8:30. Yes, this was definitely a "blink and you miss it" event, but still...



This bothers me. It's like with Ogionsa being really under-populated a few weeks ago. I don't know if it's due to a lack of interest, or cutbacks in funding. While the government is claiming that the increase in sales tax, weakening of the yen, and a +1% increase in inflation have resulted in companies increasing salaries to workers, what I'm seeing is a complete stalling of the economy and further belt tightening. I wonder if the reason for the scaling back of certain local events is because the central government is punishing Kagoshima for protesting the Satsuma-Sendai nuclear reactor restart (which started this week) a few miles away.

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