Wednesday, November 21, 2018

2018 Fall Festival in Six Parts: 6) Post-matsuri and getting busted by the cops

After the processions we returned to the shrine to clean up the danjiri, put it back in storage and then prepare for the otskare sama (celebrating our efforts) yaki niku BBQ party.

I was sitting, enjoying the delicious meat and chu-hai with my family and about 30 neighbors, appreciating their efforts over the last two days and the past several years I have been participating in the fall festival. I was thinking about these people getting up early Saturday morning to prepare the danjiri, push the beast through our neighborhood, returning to the shrine and preparing it for an evening festival of food, drinks and games for children and hosting special guests from other neighborhood associations before cleaning up the shrine grounds until late in the night. Then they got up early Sunday morning for another procession and events with other neighborhood groups. Technically they were parading the local kami (deity) from the shrine to bestow its blessings on the people of the parish but perhaps more importantly from an anthropological perspective they were spreading good will and friendship within our parish and with other neighborhood associations. Very respectful to say the least. I was also thinking what a shame it was that so few people participate in this important event. None of the people in the area around my house participate or even greet the shrine as it blesses their streets.

It was about 8:00 PM when I was thinking these thoughts. Then a young police officer showed up. Apparently somebody had complained about the noise from our celebration. This was not a loud and crazy party. It was a dinner party at our local shinto shrine - most of us had to work or go to school the next day. The police officer looked uncomfortable as he asked our community leaders to keep the noise level down. We were stunned and amused at the same time. And even more so when another (older) police officer came about 20 minutes later responding to the same complaint. I was able to snap a couple of pictures on my iPhone that shows the nervous/uncomfortable gestures of the police officer. We promised once again to keep it down and then ended our party 30 minutes later as scheduled.

It seems sad that few people participate and that one would even complain about perhaps the second most important shrine festival in our neighborhood (the most important the celebration on New Year's Eve that goes well past midnight). One worries about the traditional culture of Japan until they see the determination and efforts of my neighbors. See you next year!

Previous VAOJ Fall Festival Photo Essays:

2017 Fall Festival:

2016 Fall Festival:

2014 Fall Festival:

2013 Fall Festival:

2012 Fall Festival:

2010 Local Matsuri in Classic Black & White:

2010 Local Matsuri In Living Color:

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