Monday, September 22, 2008

Our Second Jinja Festival (video coming soon)

I promised last year I would try to get more info on the origins of this festival but a clear definition still eludes me. Nonetheless, here are some photos and descriptions of the day.
This is a lantern outside what could be a restaurant or perhaps a meeting place for a secret society (we've never been brave enough to check it out). A rare sight on the usually dark and deserted village streets. A sign of things to come. And I like the photo for it's Japanesey-ness, don't you?
Volunteers were up late into the night making hundreds, heck maybe thousands, of mochi balls for the morning's festivities. Along the parade's procession route and after a ceremony at each stop, onlookers are pelted with these sticky rice balls. For live action mochi pelting see video.
It was another September scorcher and Nova's second time to dress up for the 3 hour procession. The crown, a cause of much drama and discomfort was ditched not long after this photo was taken.
Shawn was invited to ride the flatbed carrying the shrine replica along the route. He helped hoist the massively heavy artifact to the blessing stops. These guys start pounding the beers at 9:30 am. By early afternoon they are sleeping it off for phase two later that night. For Japanese style alcohol consumption see video.
School kids followed shrine heavers with fans to keep them cool.
This year's deity gets some air between gigs.
One of the dozen or so offering tables that each neighborhood association presents for a blessing.
Onlookers from the stop at the nursing home. When I grow old I shall wear purple.....and a giant sunhat just like this one.

A friendly sumo competition takes place after the day's long walk. To see Nova's arse kicking sumo debut see the video.
Despite generally not knowing what was going on and why, for these seasoned veterans this year's Jinja Festival was a total blast! To define confusion and total blast see video.