There are two types of festivals in Japan. The first is the religious and cultural festivals. Most of these are famous, and big. The other, town festivals, are much smaller but much more fun in a way.
Town festivals are organized by town offices and senior residences, to foter goodwill among residents and give the people (especially children and the old people) a chance to enjoy without traveling far. Most of these festivals are held in late July, when the schools are closed for summer vacation.
Today, I attended the town festival in Moriya, a small town about 60km North of Tokyo. I was invited by my Japanese foster parents who live there. I will use the photos and events from there to outline a Japanese town festival.
The stage and free (yes, FREEEEEEEE!) sake
The food stalls sell a lot of fast food, including yaki s0ba (grilled Japanese noodles), Sausages, and yaki-tori (grilled chicken on a stick). Children go for cotton candy and kakigori (shaved ice with flavored syrup). Well..., not only children :o)
Games and competitions
There are games that anyone can take part. And that goes for visotors and foriegners, too. I too participated in the "Grand Golf Tournament", and won a tissue box as a prize :-p.
Target shooting, and shopping for insect-shaped toys are two other popular activities for the kids.
Karaoke competition is more popular among the aged. They insisted that I sing, but I could not find in the song collection a Japanese song that I remember the melody. Too bad :o(
There was a parade and a ballet performance by the children in the town. Not bad, given that many of the kids tried it for the first time. An amateur photographer with a digital camera (with a long shutter lag) cannot show you much.
Well, so much for today. I will cover the Bon-odori dances and fireworks when I attend the next festival :o). Hope you enjoyed the photos.
If you are in Japan in summer, take a bit of time to drop by any small town festival if there is one around. A good way to meet lots of friendly people, take part in some fun and games, and find out about cool sightseeing spots too!