Category Archives: Shizuoka Festivals

Daruma Festival at Bishamonten Myohouji Temple in Yoshiwara, Fuji City!-富士市吉原で毘沙門天大祭!

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Every year one of the three biggest Daruma Doll Festival is held in Yoshiwara, Fuji City!
This year it was held a bit earlier than usual on February 6=8th.
Daruma Dolls are hollow, round, Japanese traditional dolls modeled after Bodhidharma, the founder of the Zen sect of Buddhism. These dolls, though typically red and depicting a bearded man (Dharma), vary greatly in color and design depending on region and artist. Though considered omocha, meaning toys, Daruma have a design that is rich in symbolism and is regarded more as a talisman of good luck to the Japanese. Daruma dolls are seen as a symbol of perseverance and good luck, making them a popular gift of encouragement.
These are changed every year, making for a profitable business.
Read more information about Daruma dolls THERE!

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Once you get off Yoshiwara JR Sation, next to Fuji JR Station take the exit on the left.
You will know you are on the right path when you see the flag sign!

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Like in any festival in Japan you its importance by the length of road access lined up with all kinds of stands and shops!
They were many that day!
Actually if you had all shops leading to the Temple and the shops inside it, you’ll find around 600 of them offering their wares for three days to about 180,000 visitors to this Festival held since the Edo Era!

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Okonomiyaki!

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Takoyaki!

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Taiyaki!

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Goldfish scooping pond!

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Hiroshima-style Okonmiyaki!

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Going bananas!

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More takyaki!

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Snow crab!

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Grilled ayu trouts!

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Yakisoba!

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Ball-catching pond!

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Candied strawberries!

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Dried shirasu and sakuraebi!

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Yakitori!

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Finally reached the stairs of Bishamaonten Shrine/毘沙門天!
Actually the grounds are teh locale to both the shrine and a big Buddhist Temple called Myohouji/妙法寺!

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A monument offered by Izu Nagaoka Village!

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The torii/Shrine entrance gate!

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A solid crowd!

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In Japan, even in such a crowd, it is not difficult to move around!

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The daruma at last!

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Their owners will paint the pupils of their eyes back home!

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Can you see the monkey darumas on the left?

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The whole place has become red!

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Medium-sized darumas!

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There were also farmers peddling flowers and bonsai trees!

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These darumas seemed to be burning!

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An inviting cat!

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There were quite a few food stands on the premises, too!

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This year is the Year of the Horse!

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There were quite a few people around the dragon shrine!

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The enormous Myouhouji Temple in the background!

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Imposing roofs!

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Back to the screaming dragons!

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What were these people doing below the dragons around the incense burrning bowl?

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They were imprgnating themselves with the sacred incense smoke!

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A double Mount Fuji?

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Postcard snow-capped Mount Fuji!

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It was then time to go back!

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A last colorful photo of daruma dolls!

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A colorful tiger coat!

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Hang on, still one more picture to take…

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Mini darumas!

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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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

O Taiko Festival at Toyosumi Shrine in Yui, Shizuoka City on the New Year!

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On the new Year there are indeed quite a few unusual festivals happening, and Shizuoka is no exception!
I found this sign, among others,yesterday as I was strolling along the Old Kitakaido in Yui, Shimizu Ku, Shizuoka City and decided to investigate a little as I am really interested in attending it!

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This is a very old festival indeed as it took place for the first time in 797!

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It is one of the two major festivals in Yui with the Sakura Ebi Festival in May!
Yui had been a city of its own and one of the famous stations along the Old Tokaido Route as painted by Hiroshige until only a few years ago when it was merged into Shimizu Ku, Shizuoka City

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It has been held all the time at Toyosumi Shrine/豊積神社, a very old shrine built in 791!

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The exact address is 静岡県静岡市清水区由比町町屋原185/Shizuoka Prefecture, Shimizu Ku, Yui Machi, Machiharaya, 185.
Get down at Yui JR Station and walk down the road on your right hand side. Walk past the harbor, turn left after Ando Dental Clinic and walk up all the way.

Held from January 1st at noon to the 3rd at 00:30 a.m.!

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

Daidogei Street Performers Festival in Shizuoka City 2013 (November 1st~4th) 2

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Lucie Brouillard, face painting artist from Quebec!

The weather today being markedly cooler than yesterday encouraged me to have a look at what happening in downtown Shizuoka City during the second day of the 2013 version of Daidogei Street performers Festival!
Bear in mind that I’m only interested in the “side shows”, leaving the main show with the professional guests in Sumpu Park to other geeks!

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I was supposed to meet friends of Shizuoka JR Station who never turned up but I was lucky enough to take a pic of this Japanese acrobat couple’s last gig!

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A mime/clown from Chile!

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The marching was still here!

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Another bunch of clowns!

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The ostriches were still there, too!

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Lucie Brouillard, my favorite side show artist at work!

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This mother actually requested a penguin to dhow her kid!

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Pixie mother and daughter!

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Nail painting!
For adults!

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More nail painting!
For kids!

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Young male bodies….

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A great way to entice customers!

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Who are the real kids?

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Face drawings apparently done by art students!

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This pantomime is a regular feature year after year and is getting more and more attention from onlookers and the media!

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A frightening centipede from South Korea!
I heard that they also performed in my own hometown’s Street Performers Festival in Chalon Sur Saone, France last July, which is also visited every year by Masaaki Koga, the chief organizer of this Festival in Shizuoka City!

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The kid didn’t care a fig!

To be continued…………

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

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: 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

Daidogei Street Performers Festival in Shizuoka City 2013 (November 1st~4th) 1

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Masaaki Koga, the Man who made it all possible!

The 2013 version of the Shizuoka Daidogei has finally kicked off in bright sunshine and I took the opportunity to take a few pictures as the long week-end will be a real tussle!

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A small marching band?

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Like the years before faint painting was one of the most popular events right from the beginning!

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True colors?

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A pixie?

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An elf?

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A loving couple!

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Even the models were highLy concentrated!

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Photographer being photographed!

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Hey! What’s this?

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Giant ostrich!

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Beware the fowl!

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Plenty of clowns of all ages everywhere!

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Ready for the picture?

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masaaki Koga and his troops/troupes looking forward to meeting you tomorrow again!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

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: 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

25th (and last?) Shizuoka Mikoshi Festival

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Yesterday afternoon I experienced a great surprise and some disappointment at the same time….

Festivals are an integral part of Japanese life and culture.
But why are they so little advertised in some cities?
Unfortunately Shizuoka City is one of the culprits.
In the whole day I espied only one other expat when there should be droves of them!

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For all the official attendance of Shizuoka City Mayor, Nobuhiro Tanabe/田辺 信宏, the participans confide me that next year it would not be possible to hold a 26th event in the same form for lack of subsidies form Government Agencies…
To think that Shizuoka Prefecture is said to be actively promoting tourism.
I didn’t even know about the event after more than 36 years of residence and I discovered it yesterday because I had changed my schedule at the last second!
And it took place for 4 hours in a row all over the center of Shizoka City along Aoba Street, Gofuku Cho Street and Shichiken Cho Street!

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In spite of it all Satoko Sanada/眞田里子さん was doing some great work announcing it all to the public!

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At least the sake was on hand! (Mind you, not Shizuoka City sake, but Hamamatsu City sake by Hana No Mai Brewery!)

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The Mikoshi Festival still has an Association! I hope they will still find a way next year!

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Peace”!

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Well, the younger generations are still hopeful!

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Great kid!

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I had arrived just in time for the preparations in Aoba Park Street before the real start of the festivities!

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I took advantage of the waiting to take some shots of the participants!

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All waiting quietly!

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Let me do it for you, kiddo!

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There were 7 mikoshi/お神輿 from Shizuoka City and 1 from Toyohashi City in Aichi Prefecture.
The great majority of the participants are connected with lumber and construction businesses.

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Posing for the ladies?

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Old hands taking it easy!

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Great “happi/半被” design!

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Colorful butterflies!

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The lady on the left wears a happi emblazoned with a “aoi/葵/hollyhock” crest, that of Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu!

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Elegant!

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These ladies’ long happi could become a new fashion fad!

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Proud participants!

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Still waiting…

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Let’s have a look at the mikoshi while we have some time!

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If you look carefully you will realize they are a miniature copy of real shrines!

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Bear in mind that these mikoshi were made by lumber workers and wood craft artisans!

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This one was topped with a Japanese phoenix!

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Can you see etched against the background?

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This one, too!

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I love dragons!

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I really love dragons!

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Almost ready…

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Last recommendations and encouragements by the organising committee and the Mayor!

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At last the parade/procession is being launched!

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Headed by the singers!

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This young lady seems to enjoy the whole event for more than one reason!

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Maybe a bit older but enjoying every moment of it!

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These old guys seem to know they have a long way ahead of them!

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Good team work!

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With their eyes kept on the leaders!

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Slowly but steadily warming up to the event!

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Ambling in cadence through the crowd!

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Great smile!

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Strong ladies!

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Stopped by a traffic light…

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Hold it a bit more, guys!

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Handsome gentleman for the lady photographers!

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As strong as a man!

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And certainly more beautiful!

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Proud old men!

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Encouraged all the way by the youngest generation!
There is still plenty of hope for great traditions!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

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: 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

Shimada Obi Festival 7: Daimyou Gyouretsu-The Lord Parade

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The Sabres Dancer!

I finally went to watch the Shimada Obi Festival today where I took literally hundred of pictures and have to divide this report on of the strangest/unusual festivals in Japan into many parts!
This report is about the last section of the festival and features the nationally famous Sabre Dancers!!

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The Daimyou Gyouretsu/大名行列 is the sole responsibility of the Dai Nana Kai/第七街/Seventh District and comes last after all the chariots, stage dancers and parades have come through since 8:30 a.m. They usually start between 13:00 and 14:30 depending on the day.

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Onlookers were sitting on the kerb a good hour before the scheduled Parade!

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They are very strict about the organisation and young members ensure that there isn’t the slightest impediment.
I was told in no uncertain terms by a metal cane wielding young man to move to the sides well before the parade actually reached my spot!

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The “leaders” are extremely proud of their prerogatives, even by Japanese standards.
This is after all the aristocratic part of the festival and in Edo times they were far more obvious about their power and authority as the local Lord and his retainers paraded for real!

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The first herald!

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The lancers!

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The Lord’s mark of authority carried inside portable boxes!

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Heavy stuff actually!

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Those two kids are supposed to represent the two most powerful retainers!

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The archers!

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Kids have also taken the place of the Lord and his sons on horses!
And horse handlers are now ladies!

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The Lord parading past a cake shop!

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Most of the lower ranked retainers parade is enacted by children!

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Those dancers are a modern addition!

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The hairstyles were vastly different, then! LOL

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At least these kids are not taking it all too seriously!

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The Overlord was pulled along atop a small float.

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Bow to the Lord!

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Taking a rest and being re-groomed!

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No parade would come along without its music band!

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A rare smile from the handlers who seemed to enjoy themselves more than some uppity “retainers”!

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Even the lord seemed more amenable to his subjects!

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Another Lord with lady handlers!

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At last the ones all had been waiting!
The Sabre dancers!
This very feature gives the unique name and fame of this festival in the whole of Japan!
Enormous obi/sashes are wrapped around giant swords secured by sashes around the dancers’ waists.

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All the dancers carry different obi/sashes wrapped around their swords.
The “apron” is also unique.
All are made of expensive silk. They carry a real fortune along which is is displayed only for three days every three years!
The Parade is a very expensive a affair to take charge of. Therefore it has been held every 3 years ony for 107 times!

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The dancing is also a tough challenge along the 1.7 km ( 1 mile) main road which takes more than two hours.
To think they go through that three days in a row!

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The Dancers have to hold an umbrella (they certainly need it in the heat!) with one hand, make big waves with the other hand and raised the knees high with every step!

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Tough for photographers who are not allowed to stand or walk in front or across the Parade!

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Not so many onlookers on the sunny side of the road which could burn your skins in a jiffy, but one couldn’t walk on the shady side between the Parade and the houses along the street!

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Some of them were obviously tired!

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Tough work to raise your knees under that heavy apron!

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Tough work too to raise your arm above the shoulder and make a circling wave back and forward!

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Helpers were carrying low stools on which they could rest every time the parade had to stop!

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A well-earned rest!
Mind you, even in such a sitting position it must be tough to carry all that finery along!

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Fortunately an army of handlers were here to give plenty of support, water and encouragements!

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One thing was sure, all had strong legs!
The dancers are basically different every three years as it is a very sought after honor!

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This particular dancer was very popular with the crowd as he took often the time to look and wink at them. Note the whiskers!

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There was plenty more to follow including the brandishing and throwing of decorated poles but I was running out of batteries!

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A common feature to top-class Japanese Festivals!

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I hope that in three years’ time technology will have evolved enough to make it a film of it all without fear of running out of batteries!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

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: 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