A Travellerspoint blog

March 2010

MARCH REPORT

Festivals and Yokai - My Junior High School Blog

March was a good month for me to see new Japanese festivals.

First, I saw the dolls Japanese families show on girls' day.

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Then later I went to Omihachiman for the fire festival.

This was my first time looking around Omihachiman and it is quite a beautiful place.

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We'll be coming back here again to ride the canal later in the spring, and it should look beautiful with the Cherry Blossom!

The Sagicho Matsuri has 13 or 14 colorful Sagicho floats carried around the streets.

The floats, made of food, straw and wood, are paraded along the streets near the shrine.

This year the theme of the floats was 'Tigers' because it is the Chinese year of the tiger; I was born in 1974 which was also the year of the tiger!

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In the afternoon the teams carrying the floats begin to 'fight' with the.

The floats get damaged, but everybody has a lot of fun.

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There is also a kids parade with smaller floats.

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We also looked at the local shrine and the festival stalls (shops).

Then the bigger floats were put into position for burning.

This is a fire festival and the burning of the floats is the most popular part!

By now there was a real party atmosphere, a big crowd had built up and was waiting for the fires to start.

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The fire burned very bright and strong at the beginning because of all the paper on the floats.

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After the paper,the decorations and wood began to burn too - many people were dancing around the fires.

I went close to take some photographs, and it was very hot!

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Once the fire had burned down the cinders were cleared away by special firemen.

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I really enjoyed the festival, it was really fun.

This month I also did a road trip to Sakaiminato.

This town is famous for GeGeGe no Kitaro.

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We took the highway there and got there in just few hours and saw yokai everywhere!!

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Including many versions of Kitaro himself.

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He's even on the toilet signs.

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The most common yokai art on display are the small bronze statues that line the main street.

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There are 134 of these, and it was a lot of fun trying to find them all.

After leaving Sakaiminato we drove the car by the sea.

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The weather was cold and rainy, but we visited few beaches.

I even took off my shoes and socks to try the water - Cold, very cold!!

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Lastly we visited a big aquarium on the coast.

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For me though, this was the star attraction.

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It's a walrus - and I was surprised how big and heavy it was!

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For me it was amazing to see this animal so close!

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Wonderful creature - and a nice end to the trip.

I hope the weather will get better soon I can travel more!

Posted by DKJM74 01:25 Comments (0)

FEBRUARY:NAGANO KEN

春、雪好き猿が好き!- My Junior High School Blog

I like monkeys!

I like all animals - but I REALLY like monkeys.

They are cute and funny to watch.

So in February Harumi and I took a trip to Nagano Ken to see the Snow Monkeys!!

It was a long trip and we went to Nagano Ken by Shinkansen and express train.

The first night we stayed in Nagano city.

There was a festival of lights that night and it was very pretty.

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The temple buildings were all different colours; red, green, blue or yellow.

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We had a lot of fun in Nagano.

There was even a red London bus there!

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And a place with my name!.

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The next morning we took another train and went to Yamanouchi.

Yamanouchi is a small place by the mountains.

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Getting off the train the first thing you see is –

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Many people come here to see the monkeys and there are pictures of monkeys in many places.

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As we walked in the woods we began to see the monkeys.

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and in the monkey park it’s really easy to get very close to the monkeys.

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The most interesting thing here is the monkey onsen.

You can see monkeys in a nice hot bath.

They are very relaxed and it is easy to take photographs.

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Then we had a look at the park`s small museum, and walked back to the town.

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That night we stayed at a Ryokan with nice onsen.

We a had a large Japanese meal, and I wore a yukata for the first time.

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The onsen was beautiful and very relaxing.

I went into the outside pool at midnight and nobody else was there.

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The next day we had to go home again.

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But we made one more stop in Nagano city to see the temple in the day.

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It was a great trip and we had a wonderful time.

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Posted by DKJM74 18:20 Comments (0)

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