First off I’m sorry that this blog has been updated a lot less frequently than initially promised. But I don’t think I have any regular readers anyway.
However what happenned today was more than enough inspiration to pick up the old quill and do some writing.
So to set the scene, there I was, waiting for a bus as per normal when I noticed that a lot more people were hanging around the bus stop than normal.
Now normally I do talk to some of my students after school at the bus stop but this time there were loads of them.
And some parents, at least I assume they were parents since they kept talking to the kids at the bus stop.
Now one parent in particular seemed very excitable and was trying to tell me something. Unfortunately she doesn’t speak any English. So she was trying to convey this message through a combination of generally very excitable, and because it was excitable, quite quick, Japanese and her daughter.
Now her daughter eventually gave up and just started repeating one word at me, matsuri.
So out I whip the pocket dictionary and one Kanji check later we have our word.
No I happened to know that there was a festival being held tonight. And Thursday and Friday. In fact I was planning to try and make one of the other two nights. I want Friday because I have an Elementary school visit Friday so I need to be up bright and early, most people wanted Thursday. I of course told the parent/student that I was going to the festival tomorrow.
This caused yet more excitability.
Evenetually after a 5 minutes of conversing the group of students managed to put together the sentence.
“come here, festival”
Which I initially translated as 2please come to the festial but i then realised meant, “the festival is coming here” which I said outloud to cheers from the assembled students.
At which point the mother says “yes, the festival will come here at 4: 15”
………..why didn’t you just say that in the first place woman.
No sooner have I figured it out than I start to hear drumbeats in the distance.
and then police start swarming onto the street armed with their odd lightsaber things. I get my camera out in readiness and what should roll down the street but this.
Which of course rolls straight past us.
But it then changes course and rolls back up the street and onto the main road. At which point me and dozens of children plus a few old blokes chase after it with cameras.
It was fantastic.
Here is the video I took.
This is the sort of thing I love about Japan. The random and incongruous mix of the old fashioned, artistic, spiritual and very naural with the modern, functional and futuristic. The best image I had up until this point was a Buddhist monk in a yukata riding a moped but this easily takes the cake. Where else in the world can you be waiting for a bus and suddenly be in the middle of an ancient street festival.
I have no idea what the matsuri was in aid of. If I had to guess I would say they were taking a local kami for a bit of a walk. I shall ask tomorrow and try and find out.
Until then I leave you with pictures that I never in a million years imagined I would take.