Saturday, August 06, 2005

Mia Matsuri take one

Today was the first day of the huge summer festival in Utsunomiya. It was quite interesting to be present in the midst of it all, even though I was technically working all day. Fortunately (or unfortunately for students trying to concentrate) the festivities occur right in front of our offices and quite the crowd had piled up by 5 o'clock, the official start of the festival. While I was unfortunately decked out in a suit, I did go out a few times in the day (for lunch with Scott, for an ice cream cone with some students and for a walk with Yoshi) and enjoyed it immensly. The atmosphere was great, everybody's in a great mood and partying on. Here a few pics I snapped while out and about.

This is Orion-dori, behind work, all spruced up and decorated and waiting for the crowds to come.

Traditional Japanese festival fare... fish on a stick... I opted for a more conservative yaki-soba and some chicken.

2 young ladies in Yukatas walking by the canal, followed by two English teachers...

Master Kobayashi purchasing some lovely Oconomiyaki. Unfortunately, not all the food stalls were up and running when Scott and I headed out for lunch so I didn't get any... will correct that tomorrow...

One of the reasons for the festival, portable shrines, being pulled out onto Orion-dori in front of AEON.

After all this, I had to go back and teach a couple more classes, the crowds were a little loud but not so bad and we got through everything ok, including a good discussion on aliens and UFOs in Frontiers.

Lucky for us Saturday shleppers, the festival is on again tomorrow, and I fully intend on taking advantage. I'm meeting up with Riyo and her friend and we'll possibly be joined by Shige later on in the evening, and the folks from AEON when they get back from the rafting trip. With any luck, there'll be a huge thunder storm and things will cool down... for the first time since coming to Japan, I've been running my air conditioner, to my disapointment. The humidity has just been so that it doesn't cool down at night and makes sleeping a drenching affair... so I've decided A/C is my friend.

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