Meta (Dropdown Menu):

August 27, 2007

Yoshida no Hi Matsuri

Filed under: Uncategorized — espeed @ 11:12 am — Tags:

So I went to my first true Japanese festival yesterday and it was pretty cool experience. The tradition was heavy in the air, and then the festive spirit was also heavy in the air. It was sort of nice to experience what I’d seen many times in various media, but maybe that also means it’s lost some of that mysterious magic.

I got there early, to make sure I saw all the really awesome stuff. Which really meant I was standing around for a good deal of time waiting for stuff to happen.

I watched a bunch of costumed priests and shrine madiens chant stuff and prepare the goddess for her journey. I watched a bunch of men get drunk enough to carry a 1 ton mini shrine around the city. That was pretty hilarious. Then the exciting stuff started to happen.

The shrine officials, moved from the shrine to the mikoshi (portable shrine) carrying what I can only imagine was the Goddess of Mt. Fuji herself. She was encased, in 4 walls on sticks which essentially looked like sheets. They slowly moved her to her temporary home (chanting the whole time). I was beside myself with excitement. Then they took a very long time to actually get her to go in to her mikoshi. Maybe she was being stubborn. Maybe she’s always stubborn. But whatever the case, there was a great deal more standing.

But not to worry, excitement once again pierced the air. Mini shrines were soon rushed past by little school children. yelling their power instilling chants the whole time. It was mostly guys, but one mikoshi was carried by a group of little girls as well. This just goes to show that miniature shrines can be carried by girls just as easily as guys.

Then the 2000 pound ones were carried about. They essentially roamed randomly through the town, stopping every once in awhile to drink more beer. They eventually made their way to the community center where the goddess stays the night, satisfied that Yoshida is a fine city and that Mt. Fuji shouldn’t irrupt for the next year, (as that would destroy a fine city, and kill all those interesting people who carried the goddess through such a fine city.)

One of the cool things is seeing them throw the 1 ton volcano into the ground whenever they stop. I guess this shows it who’s boss, or shows the crowd how strong the men are. Whenever it happens, everybody claps, so I guess it must be pretty good.

The rest of the night involves huge torches which are lit up and down the main road of the town. It’s actually fairly awesome.  Especially since they shut down the two busiest streets in order to hold this thing.  One of them I believe is a national expressway even, so it’s pretty hard core.  Of course, nobody would be using their cars in town anyway, because they’re all too busy attending the festival.  I never counted but I wouldn’t be surprised if the whole town came out for it.  Imagine a mile or two of normal street, completely filled with people.  It’s pretty awesome.

One thing to watch out for is getting burned.  It’s sort of an optimazation problem.  There are less crowds closer to the huge fires, so one can move quicker by walking next to them.  However, once you get close to the fires they tend to burn you with embers and what not.  I had one fairly large ember land on my back once, and didn’t notice til I reached back and it was hot.

In anycase, this is one of the biggest festivals in japan.  That mile of street is also characterized by food and game stands the whole way.  Completely non stop.  Most festivals are small shrine affairs but this was absolutely ridiculous.

It’s not all praise though, while it was awesome experiencing  the festival, the stands got really repetitive, and the games at least bordered on extortion.  The food would get cold quickly and then become not so good.  But it was a good environment and overall I must say that I approve.

Another  cool thing about it was a great place to see some  Taiko Drum Masters in the flesh.  Those men and women, (boys and girls) are mad good with hitting a drum so that it sounds good.  They get props for that.

The pictures will tell a bit more of the story, so I’ll see you all on the flip side.   Tomorrow’s going to be great fun.


  1. Does not sound like the Rosebowl !!
    Very exciting !! —- Take lots of pictures.
    Did you remember Echo’s birthday ?

    stay safe, Granma

    Comment by grandma — August 27, 2007 @ 7:13 pm

  2. totally random, but would you, for some unknown reason, happen to know if Mrs. Ferguson has an email she currently uses?

    Comment by Jessica — August 27, 2007 @ 11:14 pm

  3. Well, it does sound “actually fairly awesome” you lucky foreign devil!
    I was thinking of cold funnel cake when I read the part about the cold food
    not tasting so good-kinda like eating a candle with powdered sugar on it!

    The only time I have seen the Taiko drummers was on TV when they had the big 24 hour
    millenial New Year’s telethon where they followed the dawn of the new day
    around the world. The drummers were on a some sacred beach, belting away
    beautifully. It would be a huge thing to see them “live”

    Thank you for taking time to share this stuff with us. The Internet is cool but
    it does take a little more responsibility than dropping a postcard once or
    twice. D.

    Comment by Darrel — August 28, 2007 @ 10:43 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment