Sep 2, 2010

Soaking in the Summer Festivities

August in Japan is the month of fireworks. And I love fireworks! Yet, another reason for me to love August (August is my favourite month :D ).

During the first week when I arrived, I joined a welcome party for all new ALTs in my prefecture at Najikashima- watching the fireworks from the rooftop of a sempai’s (senior) apartment.

Take a look at the video below to see how much fun we have that night.

I didn’t climb up to the rooftop in the end, as it seemed like you require nimble arms and legs to climb from the escape ladder. The escape ladder only starts midway, hence it requires an agile jump which I lack. :P So the video footages were from the first and second storeys only.

I notice that the huge difference between fireworks festival in Japan and Singapore would be the time and frequency. For Singapore, fireworks are fired a few at a time, continuously. Hence it only lasted 5-10minutes approximately. The sky will look pretty busy, and you can capture a really magnificent scene. But for Japan, the entire festival can be as long as 2 hours, as they start by firing fireworks one at a time, and announcing the sponsors of each firework. Towards the end of the festival, things start to get exciting, as more and more fireworks are set up together and continuously. In this case, you can fully appreciate the beauty of each firework fully, and not miss any.

Next, I joined the matsuri that was in my neighbourhood. It’s a small one for the local community. (I may have missed the main festivities which were at the shrine though, as I did not know how to get there. :P)

Here’s a footage on the night:

First, participants would follow the mikoshi around the neighbourhood. The background music that you hear was played by the children in the neighbourhood. Once we reached the community area, they started to distribute food and drinks to the participants. After that, participants, regardless of age and gender, gathered around in a circle and started dancing to their folk songs (I think?).

Very interesting!

Next year, I shall visit a full matsuri in my yukata. Mmm.. I would need to buy a yukata then. :P