Hello all! This weekend is the Tatebayashi Festival, and Saturday afternoon I moseyed on over to the main street in the 34C/93F heat with my friend Katie. The original plan was to take a quick walk up and down the road and then head back home to our aircons, but we ended up sticking around for almost two hours!
There were food booths lining the road featuring the usual festival foods: karaage (fried chicken), cucumbers on a stick, fruit, kakigori (shaved ice), chocolate-dipped bananas on sticks, and toys (fidget spinners are now all the rage, wooooo):
There were also takoyaki, fried octopus balls. Jansen was unprepared for how hot they were:
Most neighbourhoods in Tatebayashi put together their own mikoshi, a portable Shinto shrine, to march down the road during the festival. It’s tons of fun – lots of shouting, marching, bouncing the mikoshi up and down (also, the guys wear loincloths, haha)! That’s for today (Sunday), but we went on Saturday, so we only saw this one:
Saturday seemed to be the day reserved for parades done by organisations. There were several low-key groups that marched through:
And a few not-so-low-key groups, like the grocery store Torisen:
And then, suddenly, we heard drums and singing!
It was awesome! We ended up running into this dance group three times!
I adore the ladies’ costumes:
Look at their shoes!
The guys had some pretty neat details, too:
The procession moved slowly down the road. Whenever they reached an intersection, they stopped, and the musicians would form a circle and dancers would dance in the middle. It was insane how energetic they could be in the heat!
Despite the heat, everyone was in good spirits. Here, the caller made a mistake, and everyone was briefly (and amusedly) puzzled:
Behind the dancers was a group that held up a tall bamboo ladder with their hands and hooked poles while an acrobat climbed to the top!
And that’s the Tatebayashi Festival! If you ever come to Japan, do some research to see if a town near you will have a festival. It’s guaranteed to have tasty food, fun activities, and awesome entertainment!
Til next time! またね！