Sunday 30 September 2012

Autumn Festival

Koriyama has a summer festival but it's a relatively recent introduction. The autumn festival, Aki Matsuri  秋祭り is the one that's in people's blood. The festivities went on for four days. Last year the children didn't get to participate as radiation was still high. But they made up for it this year. The festivities culminated last night when 33 mikoshi shrines from different neighbourhoods were carried up and down the main street and finally made it to the main shrine, Hachiman-sama. They were lucky with the weather. Tonight, Sunday, as I write, a typhoon has hit the Nagoya area and here the rain is lashing down.

The excitement of the Matsuri is the sound of the drums, the pipes and the shouting. Photos are a poor substitute. But here goes ...

All the fun of the fair - shooting gallery and yakitori

Day Three, Friday, was for the kids' 

There are floats lit with lanterns ...

... and underneath kids play drums and pipes. They've been practising for weeks.

This is what I liked. Young and old joining in.

The carts are pulled by lines of kids. Not as many kids as there used to be, I was told.

Catching goldfish. The trick is to scoop them up really quickly
before the wafer  gets wet and disintegrates.
Only in Japan!
Day Four and the adults get to show their stuff. After carrying the mikoshi shrines
up and down the main street a few times, they head for this shrine. Classical dancing on show too.

Here they come!

The guys with the whistles set the pace - letting them go 
up the steps, and sometimes pushing them down again!

The jostling and showing off begins. They're not going to be let up the steps yet!

Washoi, washoi!

Finally, with a rush, they storm the steps and approach  the shrine.

A prayer for a good year ahead.

And now, the long walk home.

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