Last weekend under the stars

Bon Odori Festival, Warabi - July 29, 2006

Despite having to work both days last weekend (will get a 4-day weekend this week in exchange), because it was the early shift I was able to come home early enough to enjoy some local events with the family.

On Saturday night we went to our local neighborhood 盆踊り(bon odori, or bon dance festival) which we go to every year. After moving to a slightly bigger park last year it has lost a bit of its appeal to me since I went to my first a few years ago. Nevertheless I would still trade in all the festivals in Japan as long as I was allowed to keep this one. I’ve often been curious to go to Tokyo and see other bigger ones, but I’m always afraid they won’t have the atmosphere of the local one (as Dirk noted too). There’s just something magical about those lanterns hanging in the darkness, and the glow of the central structure (what’s this called? called 櫓 (yagura)) around which the participants dance. Perhaps one of these days I’ll slough off my shyness and join in, but I enjoy the periphery all the same.

Kaika with sparkler, Ukima, July 30, 2006

The next evening we went over the Arakawa river to Ukima Park to hook up with friends and do a little late-night fireworks in the park. Nothing like the Chinese firecrackers I used to do as a kid in Hawaii, mainly sparklers and such for the kids. Not surprisingly, they all, including Kaika, got a kick out of holding the sparklers, while the adults got to enjoy the 懐かしい (natsukashii, nostalgic) smell of the fireworks. The kids as well got the added thrill of staying up way past their bedtimes. Eventually someone complained and a police officer on a bike came by to tell us to quit, but he was friendly and all and there were no incidents.

(Click on each photo above to go to the respective galleries.)

2 Replies to “Last weekend under the stars”

  1. Hey there — first post.

    I am American, a long-term Japan resident, recently married to a Japanese woman — with a kid on the way (woohoo!). I found your post because I was looking for other foreign dads in Japan.

    Can you recommend any other sites/mailing lists/actual groups of people who meet in the flesh? I see that your site covers a pretty broad range of subjects; I’m looking for something a little more focused on being a foreign dad and parenting. Out little wiggler isn’t due for some months yet, but already the questions of ideal health care, education, handling family gatherings and granparents on two continents, etc. are popping up. I am not looking for professional advice here, more just looking to throw some ideas around.

    Any help here?


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