Day 5 - Parading around

Trip Start Jul 12, 2008
Trip End Jul 18, 2008

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Yamaboko parade was this morning, which is the high point of the Goin Matsuri Festival. The parade started about 9am but the concierge desk at the hotel suggest a location farther down the parade route that would be less crowded.
That ended up be going a good idea because we didn't make it out of the hotel until 9. I was little worried we might miss part of it. The buses were running all the way to Gion this morning so that part was easy but still had to foot it about a mile to get to where we where going.
There was already a crowd but we found a shady spot and wait.
And Waited
I could see the first float way down the street but it didn't seem to get be getting any closer. After maybe 20 mins I decided to go to the floats since they were not getting to me.
The floats are have lots of bright colors and the Yama styled ones, that have 2 stories, are really tall. The tree like mast sticking out of the is very tall and the float can be as high as 25 meters tall. One thing to remember is no nails or screws where used, just rope and wood. I made my way down the street getting images of each float. Many look the same but have small differences. Each having their own meaning. I have looked at guides about the floats and there is a lot of info. To much to go into here.
I got to the corner where the floats had to turn. The big ones don't have a way to turn so they lay out what looks like strips of bamboo. Lots of them. Then have the guys pulling the ropes pull it around. It takes many goes and a lot of time. The floats can be many tons.
Its fun to watch them turn though because of the guys with the fans, at the run. They act like they are commanding the turn with gestures of their fans.
I also noticed that when the float is going straight, it some times stops. The guys with the fans then do a little dance thing with gestures like they are commanding the float to go on.
I was able to get a few movie files that came out pretty good.
I didn't stay for the hold thing. I was there for about 1.5 hours and they still were not half way through. There is 32 floats in total.
After that we made our way back to the hotel. Walking along the river. I noticed a statues that I was sure I should have seen before because I went past it a few times the day before. I guess with so much going on it was easy to miss. It was a statue of Izumo No Okuni, a famous Miko (shrine maiden) that is said to have started to Kabuki theater. The placement of the statue is diagonally across the street from the famous Minamiza theater. This is interesting because woman where later banned from doing Kabuki.
We had an Italian lunch at the hotel. It was good like every thing they have there but the price borders on overboard. Food in Japan is costly, but you can eat well at the little shops you find almost everywhere for 10 or 15 dollars a person. Some times lest.
We spend a few hours kicking back and watching a movie or two, keeping out of the heat. We started packing up our stuff. Kind of sad but kind of glad.
For dinner we when back to the Kyoto station. There are lot more food shops there then you might think but you have to go to floor 10 and 11 to find them.
We found one that looked good and tried it out.
It was a little confusing on what we where suppose to do. They brought many bowls out and grinders to grinding up what seems to be toasted sesame seeds. Then you added some sauses for little pots on the table. I guess this is as a dip but still not sure. I got the shrimp, battered some something that fries up to be very light and flacky. Mom got the chicken. They server it sitting on the side of a server of VERY finely shredded cabbage, some miso soup and rice. We got some oblong tea, which is closer to the tea we drink here then the green tea you normally get. The meal all together was about 3500 yen or 35 bucks for both. Now I'm going to pack up. We head out first thing in the morning. My next post should be from home. Dewa Mata
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