Saturday, December 25, 2010

夏祭り

At long, long, LONG, LOOOONNGG last, I am going to write about the lantern festival that took place in my village in....JULY. HOPEFULLY, I will be able to continue from July all the way up to here and now. It will be like...a walk through the past...or something like that. Now, if I remember properly, this festival was the week that summer vacation was about to start (the last day of school was a Friday) so I'm pretty sure this was around July 14th. There were three festivals in my little village that week. The first was a big parade sort of thing with the local elementary kids, the next was this lantern festival (which I am about to talk about), and the last was a fireworks festival which got rained out and therefore took place the next day on Saturday (bear with me, I'm remembering all the details as I type this). The night of the festival, we all met at the community building where they had set out bamboo poles to carry the lanterns on. The lanterns them selves were a little worse for wear but as it was supposed to rain that night we diligently covered them with big plastic bags. My host family and our immediate neighbors went out and paraded in the street until we met people from other parts of the village.. everyone wearing rain ponchos. We had to wait until it became dark before we lighted the lanterns but it was worth the wait as that night ended up being fairly unforgettable. All of my pictures are pretty unfocused as I didn't feel like using the flash, but some of them turned out pretty cool anyways, blurriness not withstanding. It rained CRAZY hard that night. Therefore I didn't take many pictures which is a shame as there was also a lot of dancing. There were 3 dances that I can remember: 1.) A demon dance. Men dressed up in masks and did this dance that included a lot of jerky movements. 2.) A dance done by women in yellow Yukata 3.) A peasants dance that was done by mostly men. I do, however, have a video compiled of random clips from when we were at a standstill in the lantern parade:
video
Lastly, I'll just post some random pictures from summer vacation: Bridge near my house: At one point, everyone hung bells from the buildings all down the street. At one shop they even erected a wooden structure with bells made out of broken bottles. Whenever the wind blew there was a big racket but it was pleasant enough. Finally, these are just pictures taken from the bridge near my house

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