Japanese Festivals: Nue barai Matsuri in Izunagaoka, Shizuoka Prefecture:\-第49回鵺ばらい祭

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The picture of the day: a smiling face inside a monster’s mouth!

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Yesterday I traveled all the way train from Shizuoka City to Izu Nagaoka Station by train and took the the local bus to Yu Rakkasu Park to attend an unusual Matsuri/Japanese Festival!
I managed to arrive one hour before the start of the festivities which allowed me to have a good location at the location and its people!
As in any festival the locals were selling food to the visitors!

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Okonomiyaki and karaage!

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A local specialty, big deep-fried gyoza!

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The stage!

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I saw the students from Nagaoka Junior High School arriving directly from their school!
The lady in the middle is Ms. Kamoshita, Director of the Izu No Kuni City Tourism Bureau who had faxed me the details of the vent!

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Mount Fuji was looking after us all the time!

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The program clearly indicated for everyone’s benefit!

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One of the great staff in attendance who kept me informed me all afternoon!

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A great hapi/festival coat!

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Great kids from Nagaoka Junior High School!
So well-mannered, ever smiling and enthusiastic!
Years ago the festival used to be performed by adults. Now it is exclusively enacted by Nagoka Junior High School!
And from this year boys and girls are equally represented!

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the drummers practicing before the event!

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The “nue/鵺”!
The nue is a monster of old Japanese lore. Check the NUE LORE HERE!
It is monster with the head of a monkey, the body of a tiger and a snake as a tail in Izu Nagaoka.
The legend was brought a lot time ago to Izu Peninsula from Kyoto by a Lord’s wife.
It is a monster/spirit thought to be a bringer of misfortune and illness.
This festival is held every year to make sure it does not appear to mistreat the local inhabitants!

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Great kids again including some big boys!

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One of the very old drums used during the festival!

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A last practice!

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But before the Nue Dance we witnessed a Japanese archery/Kyuudou/弓道 demonstration, which an integral part of the festival, held by the local Japanese Archery Association!

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These two gentlemen might be of a grand age but they did not miss their target!

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Male archers!

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And female archers!

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The nue did not stand a chance!
The target made of paper was subsequently shredded into small pieces to be distributed among the onlookers for good luck!
I got mine, which might come useful when facing the home dragon!

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By then the nue dancers had got ready and were coming out of the changing room!

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Some of the costumes had to be carried by hand!

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Samurais!

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I would like to thank these two young ladies who were so kind to answer this strange foreigner’s questions!

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Peace!

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Getting ready in the cold wind!

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The choreographer giving his last advice!

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And the dance starts!

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The nue and its minions ready to pounce!

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The fever went up a grade with the drumming!

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The nue’s minions are taunting the samurai!

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Mind you the kids inside are no monsters!

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The nue has crept among its minions!

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The minions first attempt to frighten the onlookers!

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There must be some kind of hierarchy among the minions as a few carry big tail snakes!

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The minions are attacking!

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Why have they stopped?

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This is the reason!

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The samurai have come to defend the onlookers by first loosing arrows!

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But the nue’s minions are undaunted and chase the samurai who have to unsheathe their swors!

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All the while the nue is looking at the action from a safe distance!

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Nothing frightening about these two sweet young ladies!

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While the nue kept looking at the action I crept behind it for some photoes!

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Big and horrible tail!

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Nasty head!

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The samurai were starting to get the upper hand!

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Take that!

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The nue’s minons were getting killed one by one!

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The nue’s minoons had all been cut down!

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The Nue still did not intervene!

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Things seemed to be all but lost…

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But this is when the Nue finally came into the fray!

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The drummers lustily encouraged the samurais!

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But the onlookers started throwing beans at it!

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The Nue roars back into the fight!

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But the samurais show no fear!

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The Nue is struck with fear!

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The samurais have started their killing dance!

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The Nue has no chance!

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The Nue is finally down!

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The Town and its citizens are saved again this year!

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Well done, lads and gals!

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The onlookers picking the beans which contributed to the demise of the Nue!

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The two choreographers who teach the kids every year!
They are brothers and volunteers.
As the second generation of choreographers they confided that they are aiming at teaching the next generation to make sure the Festival outlives them!
Well done, gentlemen!

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All the while local geishas working at the hot springs establishments had been stoically waiting for their turn in the cold!

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And they graciously danced for all!
Don’t ask me why I chose this particular lady! LOL

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The Nue mascot!

Looking forward to my next visit to Izu Nagaoka!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

So Good Sushi Restaurant in Nice France
Navigating Nagoya by Paige, Shop with Intent by Debbie, BULA KANA in Fiji, Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Ichi For The Michi by Rebekah Wilson-Lye in Tokyo, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

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