Monday, August 24, 2009

so many festivals

We have continued to enjoy the festival season in Tokyo, sometimes partaking in 2 per weekend. Here are some highlights.

On the way to Asakusa for lanterns we stopped by Senso-ji temple, which was having its own thing - some shots from around the place

In Asakusa there is a celebration at the end of Obon, in which you are supposed to light a lantern for deceased relatives and float the lantern down the Sumida river to release their souls. Folks line up with their lanterns about 100 yards down one side of the river, over the bridge, and down the other side of the river. Bystanders (like us) stand on the bridge (below) and watch the lanterns and passenger boats float by. We had a nice spot near the middle of the bridge. Oh and the golden turd, as it is affectionately called, is supposed to represent beer foam rising (designed by architect Philippe Starck), and is perched there on the Asahi Beer Hall.

We also attended the Bon-Odori festival held at the shrine across the street from our apartment. Odori is the word for dance and here everyone does traditional dances in a circle around the drummer. The inner circle of women in Yukata are the experts, so we all just watch them for the first go and then the little, say, four 8-count segment repeats. This one was pretty simple, but the dances start to build on one another and get pretty complicated by the end of the set. The people on either side of me were really nice, explained how things worked and pulled me out there.

Then the same weekend we went to the International festival held in Azabu Juban, which is home to various embassies and many foreigners. Each embassy had a stand with yummy foods from their home country: tacos and nachos from Mexico; brats from Germany; pork on a stick and pad thai from Thailand; chorizo from Argentina; chicken skewers from Egypt. And those were only the stands we actually went to. There were half a dozen more that we missed.

We went with our friends Michael and Momoe, who are here in the massive crowd. This is once it was getting late and thinning out actually.

Unfortunately Festival season will be coming to an end soon. I guess we will now be spending our weekends seeing museums and other sites. And soon there will be Sumo wrestling...

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