The Yoshiwara Gion Festival

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Hello everyone,

The daily showers of rainy season are here. I haven’t been caught outside in the rain yet, but it’s hard to predict at this time of year. Last weekend the Yoshiwara Gion festival took place, and luckily it was nice and sunny on Saturday when I went. As you walk towards the festival, you can hear it before you see it. The distant noise of taiko drums, bells, and traditional flutes gets louder as you approach. Once you get to the main street, you can see the “dashi”, huge floats being pulled along the street. There are 21 neighborhoods in Yoshiwara, each with their own dashi. It is pulled along the street with ropes by the members of that neighborhood, who are dressed in their local colours. Inside the dashi are children playing taiko, bells and flutes. Everyone pulling it is so enthusiastic and making lots of noise. It is worth watching the competition among the dashi floats each of which have their unique features. There are also “mikoshi” (portable shrines covered in bamboo)  which are carried along the streets. Every now and then the group stops walking and shakes the mikoshi up and down to simulate the waves of the sea, because this is a coastal city. There are over 200 vendor stalls set up on Yoshiwara main street during the festival. They sell the usual Japanese festival goods such as fried meat, chocolate bananas, potato swirls, “kaki-gori”(shaved ice), cotton candy, and so on. There are also many carnival games to try win something. It’s difficult to win a good prize at these games, so expect to come away with only an umai ball or keyring. My daughter gets a chocolate banana and kaki-gori at every festival. The ice is a great way to cool off, as it was so hot out there last Saturday. We had a great time and I enjoyed the traditional feel of the festival. Looking forward to the Fuji festival next month.

Alan

みなさん、こんにちは。

梅雨の季節がやってきました。

週末は祗園祭が行われました。土曜日はとても天気がよくお祭りにはいい天気でした。

祭りの会場に近づくにつれて、太鼓や鈴、笛の音が聞こえてきます。

吉原通りにつくと、山車をみることができます。町内ごとそれぞれの21の山車を、はっぴを来た子供や大人たちがロープでひき、通りを練り歩きます。山車の中や上では、太鼓や鈴、笛を子供達が弾いています。とても熱気があって、音の迫力があります。とても見ごたえがあります。また200以上の屋台も魅力です。から揚げ、チョコレートバナナ、かき氷、わたがしなどなど。勝と何かもらえるような屋台もありました。私の娘は、チョコレートバナナとかき氷を必ず食べます。かき氷は暑さをしのげます。家族でお祭りを楽しめました。来月は富士まつりですね。そちらも楽しみです。

アラン

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