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.
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.)