Saturday, August 20, 2011

Misawa Festival

If you haven't read my Ryosendo Caves post, go back a post and start there.

As soon as I got back from the trip to the caves (previous blog post) we headed out to the Misawa Festival for dinner. Octopus Balls! We got outside the gate and realized that there was a parade of floats going on. So what happens is that a group of guys dressed in the same outfits carry a float on their shoulders. There are people with fans in the front of them or behind that call out things which the guys with the float call something back. Don't ask, my Japanese isn't that good yet. Anyways, the guys with the float will pump the float up and down or they spin with the float. It's just crazy. Then they'll take a bit of a brake and then move down the street and little further. There are literally guys in push carts following each float with kegs of beer, and we saw one woman stumbling around obviously wasted. Who doesn't carry a float on their shoulders with twenty other men without a beer in their hand?
Then they parade the floats in front of the stage and they are judged on their enthusiastic cheering, spinning and float pumping. It was pretty spectacular. Then we went in search of all the wonderful food that we have associated with festivals. I got some more octopus balls, I also got a coiled sausage on a stick that tasted like keilbasa. Ian got some shrimp balls and this sausage filled fry bread from these guys.
They had a line at least ten people deep waiting on these things. We circled the food street like three times waiting for the line to calm down. One of these days I will try and get a picture of the craziness that is the food street during festival. We had a lot of fun people watching and stuff. There were less people in kimonos then the last festival and I have never seen so many men in short white shorts - those boys got chicken legs! Hilarious and lovely. It was a really fun day and night. 

Ian and I went back to the festival today (Sunday). We actually got to see the big floats and they were phenomenal. I have no idea what any of the imagery or singing meant but I can tell you what was kind of going on. There were like five ropes infront of the floats and people were pulling on the ropes. I'm not sure if it was ornamental or if it was real pulling. Every float had children on them banging small drums and singing. There was usually an adult banging a large drum. There were people playing flutes and the music was really nice. The last float was huge and had to collapse to fit under the street lights. Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of it in it's full glory. The floats were beautiful and the imagery was really inspiring.
Here's the web album and captions...Misawa Festival.

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