3 in 30 - 2000.08.19
Not officially part of the 3 in 30, but check here for continuing coverage and O Matsuri snapshots.
The festival is in progress! Saturday afternoon here in Akishima and the mikoshi parade is out there. Candy and I went over to make a small contribution and to buy some lunch. We had yakitori (grilled chicken on a stick), onigiri (rice balls), dango (sweet mochi on a stick), and beverages.
After that, the parade started, lead by Takahashi-san, a neighbor who is a volunteer fireman. His wife runs a beauty saloon. After that was the single-person flower floats. Next came the children's marching band which you see here. There are children with pompoms, some with batons and then some trumpets, trombones and drums.
After the marching band, there follows some men with a large drum used to beat the time and also encourage the adults carrying the large O Mikoshi. Several people asked if I would help carry the Mikoshi, but I explained that my legs were old, I had the back of a grandfather,... and,... I was lazy. I did help one year, but nearly passed out in the heat. I am slightly taller than most carrying the mikoshi and that was an awkward carrying position for me.
The people in the torquoise hapi coats are mostly from one of the local banks, Seibu Ginko. These men and women will carry this several hundred pound mikoshi around for about an hour and a half, stopping to rest four or five times. Just before resting, the guide and chanter will ask if everyone is genki. The group will respond by raising the mikoshi higher in the air, shaking it around and cheering. "Yes, we're genki!" That's about when I wasn't feeling genki.
As mentioned last week, the fence of horizontal boards to the left is filled with signs denoting neighborhood donations to the matsuri. There is space to the right where more donation notices can be put.
The decorated festival stage can be seen in the background. This evening between 4:30 and 6:30, there will be a karaoke contest, singing to recorded music. Too bad I don't have just the music to any Bob Dylan or Kingston Trio songs. "Oh will he ever return, no he'll never return. His fate is still unknown..." Poor old Charlie, lost on the MTA.
Next to the last is the children's O Mikoshi. There seem to be quite a few more children to help with the mikoshi than there do for the adult one. Perhaps I could help with that one?
Last, but not pictured there is a small pickup truck with water and other beverages for the celebrants en route. It is "towed" by even younger children with a big rope. These would be children in the age group four to six, who would be too short to help with the children's O Mikoshi.