Monday, November 3, 2008

Iwafune Matusuri (Sunday, October 19, 2008)

Before the matsuri, I wanted to visit one of my elementary school’s bunkasai.  Each room displayed the students’ various artwork.  There were paintings, calligraphy, pottery, woodwork, sewn projects, books, and more.  While walking from room to room and viewing this fantastic work, I can honestly say that I was impressed and inspired by all of the creativity!!

After the bunkasai, I had exactly an hour and 15 minutes to kill before meeting people in Iwafune, so I decided to get a pretty fall-view of Oshiro-yama (the mini-mountain in my backward).  Oooo it was so pretty, yes it was!!

I think the Iwafune Matsuri marks the end of the Matsuris for the year, and it was a big one!!  It was a two-day celebration that went from 4am to 3am on both Saturday and Sunday.  Instead of having to deal with parking and since it was such a beautiful autumn day, I decided to basket-bike it there (I teach at a school in Iwafune, and it’s one of the places I was taxied to and now drive to).  There, I met up with Jess and Flo and a trio of Flo’s high school students.  With them as our matsuri guides, we walked around to see some of the oshagiris, and were introduced to one of the girls’ family.  This led to an invitation to eat lots of sushi and beer later on that evening, and also a more immediate invitation to go to some upstairs house to eat and drink with some tattooed locals.  After an hour or so there, we left to see some more of the crazy oshagiri parades.  In the middle of that, Jess decided that he was chilly, so stopped into a ma and pa clothing store at which he received a free yukata from a nice old woman.  We then headed over to the house that we were invited to earlier that day.  When we got there, we were shuffled into our own little room with three massive plates of sushi and other Japanese deliciousness.  The ol’ man then came into talk to us and saw that Jess was wearing this yukata, and ridiculed him for a good while about that which was…awkward.  When we were completely stuffed and exhausted, we left and Katrina, Flo, and Jess headed home.  I stuck around and met up with Hannah and her crew for a walk through the Iwafune shrine, which was absolutely striking with the lantern lights in the darkness of the night.  When they headed home, I met up with some of my students and walked around the matsuri stands with them.  After a banana-chocolate-crepe, I headed back to my basket bike and called it a night.  The whole day and night was just a fantastic bizarre chain events that left me saying to myself: ‘oh Japan.’

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