Sunday, July 16, 2017

Rokugatsu-tou, July 15, 2017

I've been waiting for Rokugatsu-tou (or Rokugatsu-gou depending on which dialect you use), the celebrations of the anniversary of the death of Kagoshima's favorite Edo-era feudal lord, Nariakira Shimadzu. It's a two-evening festival that starts at 6 PM and runs until 9-10 at night. Although, the live stage activities go from 6:30 to 830-9 PM depending on how well they keep to the schedule. Every year is pretty much the same. There are the food, drink and novelties booths lining the street leading up to Terukuni Shrine. In the parking lot they have the lanterns made by school kids and advertising the various companies that support the event, an ikebana (flower arranging) display, and the stage. All that really changes from year to year are the performers on the stage.

It's a little after 6 PM at this point, and I'd estimate that there's easily 1,000 people crowding the street between the food stalls.

Some of the banner lanterns. Most are pretty childish and not worth taking pictures of. A couple are really good, but one or two of the photos were ruined because the clear plastic over the paper reflected the blue of the sky, flooding out the images underneath.

A long-shot of the ikebana tents, just to give an impression of what the layout looks like.

Closer shots of the more interesting arrangements.

If you look at the back of the base of the above arrangement, you'll see one of the participants.

The traditional bamboo hoop. Couples going through the hoop three times in a figure-8 will have a long romantic life together

Cat daruma.

The live stage, with one of the two Taisho Goto groups. AKA the Taisho harp, it's basically a cross between a typewriter keyboard and a guitar. Each player gets associated with one or two notes, and everyone together ends up making the full song. Kind of like with a bell ringer group.

Most of the performances are put on by amateur groups, culture clubs and dance schools. The exceptions were on Saturday with Seven Colors, which does work professionally as a pop idol dance ensemble, and Wicky Toshi (below).

Seven Colors, Kagoshima's version of AKB48. They aren't all that good normally, but they were plagued by an inept sound guy this time. The sound guy kept adjusting the mike levels wrong all evening, and there was howling feedback whenever anyone sang.

Wicky Toshi and Kana. Wicky owns the Wicky House bar and live stage a few blocks away, and loves covering the Japanese group Southern All-Stars. He's fun to watch, but because he covers copyrighted music, there's no point in uploading anything to youtube because the songs get hit by the filter blocks.

Direct youtube link

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