Every year Fukushima City has a large festival this time in autumn. It’s associated with Inari Shrine, a Shinto Shrine (although I am not Shinto. Most likely many of the participants are not Shinto, either. For us it’s not a religious festival, really. Japanese people LOVE their festivals and it’s a time to have fun and celebrate the traditions of Japan.)
This was Saturday around 4:00 in the afternoon. (October 7, 2017) I was walking to the place where we meet. This is my neighborhood, Bansei. Each neighborhood in the old part of Fukushima City participates in the festival. Lots of people come from the newer parts of the city to watch us.
The dashi is there. We’ll have to pull it, although nowadays it has a motor. A person inside it steers it.
When my son was younger, he pulled the dashi and led the cheering. But now that he is older, he plays the drums inside the dashi. (They practice the week before the festival begins.)
I had trouble finding my hapi coat yesterday (since it is only used once a year). I didn’t want to go without it, so I searched and finally found it. I told a mom this when I got there, and she said, “Finding Hapi.” And we laughed.
The coat says “Bansei Cho.” Bansei Area
It says “Bansei Cho” in Kanji. That is the name of our little neighborhood. That’s one of the drums. (The large one.)
This is the back of a young child’s hapi coat. It says matsuri. This word means “festival.”
After these photos were, taken we pulled out the dashi, and walked around the town with it.
For years, I’ve had the idea of writing a middle grade book about the festival. Fiction. I’ve run a plot through my head many times, and could just never make it work. I guess it wasn’t meant to be. Also, I’m not sure I want to write about something in which my neighbors could see their own selves. (In my current trilogy that I have written, all the neighbors are completely fictional–that is, made up in my mind with no resemblance to my actual neighbors. ) In the end, I’ve abandoned writing a book about the festival.