Sunday, July 11, 2010

gion matsuri : 祇園祭り

this weekend was the local gion (祇園) festival in k-chan's hometown.
i guess most people think of kyoto when they hear the word gion, but even k-chan's small mountainous town has it's own version of this summer festival.
as the narrow road outside k-chan's home is being closed off to vehicles, young girls are getting dressed up in brightly colored yukata and small stalls selling takoyaki (octopus balls), candyfloss, kakigori (shaved ice) and kingyou-sukui (a scooping up goldfish game) begin to line the street.
further down the mountain you can hear the men shouting "wasshoi! wasshoi! wasshoi!" as they carry the heavy omikoshi (a portable shrine) on their shoulders.

when k-chan was a kid the men of her local town would parade their omikoshi up and down the streets until they met with the men of the neighboring town who were carrying their own local omikoshi. when both towns men met they would crash into each other trying to ruin the others omikoshi. every year a brawl would breakout with fists flying this way and that; naturally all was forgotten the following day but sadly this tradition of kenka-mikoshi is now no longer allowed in this part of the woods.

even without the fist-fights this summer festival is still a local favorite especially for the kids.
the adults also have their fair share of fun enjoying a beer or two outside in the cool summer night.

fingers crossed we can join in on the gion festivities next year too!


jen laceda said...

what a sight! thanks for sharing!

world of sekimachihato said...

* jen laceda
you're welcome!

pascale said...

love the bubble shots :)
One of the things I like about summer here is being able to go to matsuri. Makes me smile all the time :)
Hope Kouchan had a good look at everything around him!

gingerbee said...

Wow, too bad there isn't much action (aka fist fights) going on there...BUT! I'm pretty sure all of you had a blast. :)

This reminds me of the fiestas we have during the Lenten season. There's a procession of the saints and the different stages of the passion of Christ. I'm just awed at the craftsmanship and of course, the food. Hee.

Oh, and speaking of the takoyaki, what do you reckon about that psychic octopus that predicts world cup matches?

Make it Easy said...

aww how fun!!
i would love to be in Japan right now!! :-)

world of sekimachihato said...

* pascale
yes, i love it how each season is celebrated with festivals and seasonal foods!
kou-chan slept throughout the festive activities; didn't even blink an eye.
maybe next year he will be more alert!

world of sekimachihato said...

* gingerbee
k-chan said that since the fist fights have been banned less people now attend this local festival...

your local fiestas sound very interesting! hope you can do a post on them one day; i'd love to see and hear more about it (and the food!)

oh, don't talk about that psychic tako... he has been talked about too much on the tv over here. a few hours ago they said he was retiring due to his age. apparently he is two years old and tako usually only live to about three.

world of sekimachihato said...

* Make it Easy
better to wait until next week.
i heard that the rain may ease off this weekend.

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