Parading through the sticky summer

Trip Start Mar 18, 2003
Trip End Apr 08, 2007

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Monday, August 21, 2006

Summer is festival time in Japan, from the famed greats like Kyoto's Gion Matsuri or Aomori's Nebuta Matsuri to the tiny neighborhood dance festivals that pop up around Obon. Unfortunately, most of the big events happen right smack in the middle of summer vacation, when I'm almost invariably out of the country. Thus, it tends to be slim pickings by the time I get back.

Nagoya's big bash is in the fall, and apart from a fireworks display at the port on Marine Day in July (when Mayu and I were in Okayama-ken), there isn't much happening when the mercury's at the higher end of the scale. So, when we heard there was going to be a parade along Hirokoji-dori in the center of town, we made plans to see it. Perhaps it pales in comparison to the likes of other August celebrations, but the Hirokoji Matsuri made for a good opportunity to enjoy some festive summer spirit. Enough girls in yukata and stalls selling the usual tasty (if expensive!) fare kept up impressions, and - despite some oddly un-Japanese floats - a traditional flavor was still in the air. Even though the spirits of the ancestors should have long since returned to their cozy afterlives, the parade ended with a good session of taiko and Bon dancing. Now we can claim we didn't miss all of the festivities.
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