Saturday morning dawned wet a rainy, holding on par with my weekend-ruining weather conspiracy. I was supposed to meet an Australian friend at 10 for coffee then we were going to head to a festival in Mikuni. He and his girlfriend picked me up a little late, but we made it to the festival on time.
Truth be told I'm not exactly sure what the purpose of this festival is, but the little town was packed with people. Greg and I had been asked to help pull one of the many carts through the town. The carts were big enough to hold around 6~8 people inside who were playing drums, shamisen and flutes doing some kind of song/chant. On top were two more people to make sure we didn't run into any people or buildings as well as push the multitude of low-hanging phone and power lines out of the way.
Granted this may sound rather boring, but it gets interesting when you take into account the fact that each cart had a 5+ meter tall samurai um...puppet thing on top and that the streets in most Japanese towns are incredibly narrow. Add in the fact that the streets were packed with people and various kiosks and we had quite the challenge. It was an interesting experience and I'm looking forward to seeing the pictures we too.
Oh yeah, I was interviewed by some reporter for the local news too. She busted out the full speed Japanese on me, so I can only hope that I understood her questions and answered correctly with all the noise and people around. I'd kinda like to see it, but I also sorta hope that no one I know sees it! Those of you who know me fairly well know just how much I like having my picture taken, so video is that much worse.
The weather turned out to be pretty nice in the end. It stopped raining shortly after we started pulling the cart through town and stayed pleasantly overcast. Honestly if it'd been sunny I think it would have been a little too hot to be pulling a massive cart around. After we finished the cart route we walked around taking in the various people, food, crafts and games on display. We also stopped at Mikuni shrine to say a prayer and get our fortunes. My fortune was a bit of a mixed bag, but that's not terribly surprising given some of the recent events around here lately. I won't be posting those details on here though, so um...yeah. The festival was a lot of fun. :D
After the festival I hopped on the train to go to a welcoming party for the new Japanese teacher at my second school. We had about 16 or 17 people total including staff and students, which is a little small for a school party, but we did start late so I think a lot of people decided to stay home.
We went to a nice little izakaya and drank as much as we could in 90 minutes. Why? Well a lot of places have what's called nomi-hodai. That is basically all-you-can-drink in a given time limit for a set price. We paid for all the food we ordered on top of that, but trust me you can get a lot of drinking done when you are on a time limit like that. :D Everyone was in good spirits and we had an entertaining time.
Sorry about the lack of pictures. I'll post some as soon as I can.