Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Festival fun

Last weekend Yonago city's big summer festival was held. It's called Gaina Matsuri which, in the local dialect, means Big Festival. People are nothing if not pragmatic around here :-)

Last year and the year before we were in the UK and missed the festival. The previous year (when K was just the age T is now!) we went in the daytime and watched some of the parade (which I wrote about here). This time we just couldn't be bothered with traipsing into town in this crazy heat, with heavy traffic, nowhere to park and 2 small children in tow. On the other hand, I was sure that K would enjoy the evening festivities on Saturday, so the 2 of us took the bus into town to check it out.

Catching water balloon 'yo-yo's with paper hooks

K meeting someone suffering horribly in a super-hot bird suit

The highlight of the evening is the lantern parade. Groups of men carry a big bamboo pole with lit lanterns suspended from crossbars. It's a common event in summer festivals around the country. It's a bit hard to see in this photo, but the guy is balancing the whole thing on his shoulder. It was pretty impressive...

... and here's K being so impressed that he paused, open-mouthed, in his chip-eating:

Another important festival element is taiko drumming. K and I watched for a while at a little outdoor stage in front of The Swan, the city's official bird. I love taiko (I had a little go at it once and would love to do it again) and K got really into it too.

Before we went to the festival I had resigned myself to buying one item of plastic junk for K. Happily, he walked past all the toy guns without a second glance, and only paused briefly to admire the masks. But the second he saw the flashing Minnie-Mouse-ribbon headbands he cried out 'I really want that!'. Well, OK. Blue? Red? No, pink please...

We got the last bus home again, flashing headband and all. Last night we set off to do it all again, this time to see the fireworks. There were over 7,000 of them, from 8 till 8.30. Once again H stayed home with T and off we went, following the crowds past all the stalls to find a good place to sit and watch. As soon as the fireworks started though, K was scared by the noise and started to cry. He just clung to me and got more and more upset, so that we had to give up and come home again having barely seen any fireworks. Oh well. Maybe next year...

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