Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Nagaoka Festival

The Nagaoka Festival this year was nothing much different from what I saw last year, but since it was a Friday night this time, I guess there were relatively more people who thronged the streets to join in the fun this year Here is a brief introduction on how this annual festival started more than half a century ago, which I translated it from the pamphlet I got.
August 1, 1945 will be the date that every single citizen of Nagaoka will never forget. It was the day that this small town was attacked by an air-raid which consisted of 126 airplanes, which lasted for one hour and forty minutes and left the town almost burnt down completely. About 1,460 of lives were lost on this day, and the remaining 60,000 people were left homeless from the attack. To mark the recovery from this unfortunate, 長岡市戦災復興祭り (Nagaoka City Disaster Recovery Festival) was introduced a year later. The festival received the sympathy from the citizens of the city and it got bigger by the years and on 1951, the festival was renamed 長岡祭 (Nagaoka Festival).
Alright, enough on the history of the festival and now it is time for pictures with short captains to go along with them.
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What a picture to start the ball rolling. Ignore the micro-skirt girl in the middle. These are the stalls set up at some of the streets selling the normal stuff like okonomiyaki, takoyaki and yakisoba. Plus balloons with many different kinds of cartoon characters like Spongebob on the top right.
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Part of the dance team of a company, which was accompanied with a guy who wore an ancient warrior costume, complete with a samurai sword.
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I will be honest here. I was trying to take a picture of a couple of girls in this group, but it didn't turn out that well. Never mind about that.
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The older generations didn't want to miss out on joining the dance as well.
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"Eh?", said Hello Kitty.
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A newcomer I saw this year - an octopus with its tentacles as well. See how fast that boy was trying to run away from being sucked by the long tentacles of the octopus.
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This black cow is damn lan si I tell you. He showed me his backside when I was just going to press on my shutter.
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And you get this when young innocent girls wanted to take picture with him. Stupid ham sap cow.
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The group of musicians who played the musical instruments to accompany the dancers throughout the ninety minutes' dance. Wondering what those two uncles were doing down there.
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There was another event which I didn't get to see last year - the drum performances by a local association, where most of them are university students.
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All but one of the members are Japanese and the one alien is Randy, my senior who is currently doing his degree in Nagaoka
University of Technology.
Can anyone spot Randy in this picture?
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The festival continued with the mikoshi parade. A mikoshi is a portable Shinto shrine. Shinto followers believe that it serves as the vehicle of a divine spirit in Japan at the time of a parade of deities.
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As mikoshi comes in a variety of sizes, sometimes it takes a few dozens of people to carry it. Take this for example.
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The person standing in front serves as a guide to instruct the people who are carrying the mikoshi along the street so that they will not strike any bystander or other participants.
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Mikoshi is not the focus in this picture, but the two devil with purple horns on the bottom right. I could only come out with a hypothesis from it.

These two girls got horny watching the mikoshi.


Seizhin said...

Heh, what a nice celebration.
Somethings are too nice to be in, hopefully, I can once again reapply for study in Itabashi soon enough.

MeLia said...

wah... pretty nice costume.. ^_^

calvin said...

@ seizhin:
all the best in your application and hope to see you here :D

calvin said...

@ melia:
hehe, glad you enjoy them ;)