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:

Saturday, November 17, 2018

2018 Fall Festival in Six Parts: 5) Celebration with another neighborhood association

It has been a tradition that our danjiri meet up with that from another shrine close to ours on the second day of the festival. So this event builds cooperation and friendship within and among the local neighborhoods. There are taiko and dance performances by children followed by the crowd pleasing mochi maki. I seem to be the only one avoiding the rice cakes as I dodge them behind my camera as they are being tossed down from the tops of the danjiris.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

2018 Fall Festival in Six Parts: 2) Taking a break with another neighborhood association

The neighborhood boundaries and streets do not always match up so we have to briefly take our danjiri through another neighborhood to get from point A to point B. But not to worry! The other neighborhood association does not take offense or worry about an invasion. They actually prepare food and drink for us so we can take a break and socialize together. We do have a little battle as each neighborhood association does a taiko drum performance.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

2018 Fall Festival in Six Parts: 1) Pre-departure

Another successful and fun-filled neighborhood fall festival... Our neighborhood association puts in a lot of effort for this two day event. Not only does it bring our neighborhood closer together, but it promotes good relations with other neighborhoods through shared celebrations. Lots of photos (again) this year so I am dividing them into six parts. Part One includes the blessing by the shinto priest at the local shrine before we started.