Thursday, August 2, 2007

Nagaoka Festival

Living in Japan is very nice as they have lots of festivals throughout the year. Among others are Hanami (sakura blooms), Hanabi (Fireworks Festival) and even Umi no Hi (Sea Day). I will be going to Nagaoka Fireworks Festival tonight. This fireworks festival in Nagaoka is considered the best in whole of Japan. So it wasn't a surprise that people from as far as Tokyo have started coming to my place since last night.
As a start to this annual festival, there was a festival a day before the main event. They called it 長岡祭り (Nagaoka Matsuri). I went with Yan Kuang and my senpai William and will be meeting the rest of the Malaysians there. We were planning to take a bus there, but when we were walking towards the bus stop, one of the sensei in our kosen spotted us and hence, she gave us a free-lift there.
The festival took place near Nagaoka Station and the moment I was there, I was surprised to see the numbers of people already there. The last time I saw something like this was during my Tokyo trip two months ago.
The procession had already started by the time we was there. First thing I spotted was Toki, which flew all the way from Sado.
these toki were too tired already and could only walk, instead of flying
For you who has no idea what the duck Toki is, then take a look at my Sado's trip posting when I paid a visit to these Toki.
The festival is actually divided into two parts. The first part was the dancing part. If you see the way they dance, I'm sure you will get fed-up.
dance some more want to laugh?
I'm just kidding. What I mean was that their movement was so slow that they hardly move. I guess this video will show you that I'm not ketam-ing here.

As you can see from the video, you can learn a lot from it. Tai chi lesson, kua chi lesson and also lychee lesson.
Perhaps this was my first time there, but nevertheless, it was quite interesting. These pictures should show that it wasn't as boring as what you might think.
For the second part, they had processions. It was like those we use to have during the Birthday of Nine's Emperor God (Kao Ong Yea) or Thaipusam. No kavadis or simply cucuk here and there this time though. But you can see a few different stuff from these procession.
White angles, baby's wave and also mabuk master.
It didn't stop there. You can see live harimau show too.
What does getting possessed have any relation with tiger show? Well, don't tell me you didn't notice the cherry popping out from the centre guy in the picture above.
I will be showing you one of the video of the precessions where I guess those guys had gone drunk and simply haik here and there. It was as if they've really got possessed by some Doraemon spirits.

As I mentioned before, the number of people you can see here are just unusual. To demonstrate how big this festival is, there was actually a live crossover from some I-don't-know-which TV channel.
haik! haik! haik! soudesu ne
But having a festival of such scale without stalls selling stuff and foods won't be complete. But when I came across some stalls, most of them were selling stuff which is not suitable for kids.
This is one of the example.
they are encouraging the kids to be as round as these balls
There were also stalls selling food. I thought of having some roti canai and the tarik. So, I walked around and tried to locate if there's such stall being set up.
All I got was something like this.
O suka bakar (a direct translation from Okonomi Yaki)
All Japanese food. I couldn't locate a single mamak stall there. No roti canai for me. No teh tarik for me. Nothing for me. So I cancelled my initial plan.

When we were walking around the place, I came across this thing. Ice cream.
Never seen ice cream before?
I'm not saying that I'm so jakun that I have not seen an ice cream before, but I guess this is something different from the ice cream we usually have. They put the freshly cut fruit, such as pineapple, mango, and oranges in between ice cubes and leave them to freeze. When it gets hard, it has a similar taste with the ever-so-famous 20 cents ais krim batang.
I got myself momo flavour. I guess my Mumu will love this. Momo means peach in Japanese. And after continued walking, there was this guy who distributed some snacks to the passer-by.
got infected by chicken pox?
After I took a closer look at it, it's actually 大まめ餅 (big bean rice cake). It was not bad. I even got two packets for myself.
After the festival had ended, we gathered again to chat for a bit and of course, camwhoring session followed after.
with my senpai from Nagaoka University of Technology
and my girl friend, Fiona who is currently studying in South Korea
My camwhore session actually had started much earlier than that. During the processions, there were some mascots tagging along the dancers.
They liked me so much when I went and camwhore with them! Trust me, I'm not making stories here.
Hello Kitty started to cuak already when she see I camwhore with her boyboy
Okay, I know I looked so desperate to actually went and take a picture with a cat without a nose. But these things comes only once a year. You don't get it everyday.
The next two pictures were taken with the mascots from Taiko Bank. First is Rodan the dog.
does my mouth look the same as Rodan’s mouth?
And the next one, I took with a small kid.
but which one is the small kid?
Before I end this post, let me show you what I managed to take back from the outing last night. If you went to the Bon Odori before, this should be familiar to you.
can cat and dog be friends?
These fans were distributed to everyone as it was quiet hot that time. Without these fans, I can guarantee you that you will sweat your whole body. But since I took these back with me, I've figured out a new way to re-use these fans.
I will use it to fan my fire when I fry my koey teow.


Innocent^^Guy said...

where the "grey" stuff u say wan to send me yesterday nite?

mayc said...

lols.. fireworks are pretty! i rmbr my first time, and second.. =)
have fun, take vids. u'll need a good cam for photos lo.
oh ya, its not osukiyaki la dey. its okonomiyaki.. sukiyaki is a completely diff kind of food.

Calvin said...

@ calvinsenpai:
since when i told you about that "grey" stuff? as far as i'm concern, purple stuff got la :P

and if you're interested in seeing that purple stuff, i've just uploaded it to the entry ^.-

Calvin said...

@ mayc:
this is my first time and i just couldn't wait for tonight. i'll use all my photograpy skills to get nice pictures and of course, videos :)

ooh yea, that was a typo between suki and konomi. you're the second person to spot that :P

michelleg said...

omg, being the tallest guy is an added advantage to get a good view of everything!! for me sure can only see people's head!

the festival looks nice! and the hono bono fan looks cute. hahaha!!!

Calvin said...

@ michelleg:
yea, i agree on that point. much easier for me to have a good view of it and also when taking pictures and videos ^.-

are those called hono bono fans? i only know that after you told me :P

michelleg said...

dunno lar. i just saw the hono bono word on the cat n dog fan..

Calvin said...

@ michelleg:
haha, like that also can? actually i didn't realise about that :P

TZ said...

Wow! there is so much cultural show to watch and food to eat... the food picture that you take make me hungry, drool :-p

I bet you have enjoyed yourself in the party :-)

Calvin said...

@ tz:
yea, indeed it was something new and quite interesting to watch what people from other countries has got to offer :)