“This is the reason we live.” ~Saori Suzuki about the July 7th Murakami Matsuri.
The pulling of the oshagiris actually started during the afternoon of July 6th. I watched them roll down the street from the window of my middle school, wishing it were Tuesday so that I would have the entire day off to participate in Murakami’s main event of the year. Monday’s events were just to briefly show the oshagiris off to the town.
On Tuesday, July 7th, Tanabata Day, the pulling of the oshagiris was broken up into three stages. At 3:00 am, one neighborhood’s oshagiri was chosen to pull through town to the Murakami’s shrine. Of course we woke up for this. Once it was over though, we took a bit of a nap before WE (Jenelle and I) pulled with Oomachi. One of my English Conversation students (and friend) invited us to pull with her neighborhood!! We got there at 8:00 am to find that a lot of the older men hadn’t napped since 3:00 am at all, and instead stayed up and drank Asahi Beer. From 8:00 until about noon, we pulled and drank, were invited into houses to eat and drink, and then pulled some more. Ruu and Futoshi met up with us in the afternoon to evening stage where we ditched the happi (blue kimoni-like uniforms) to get pretty in yukata (summer-style kimonos). We walked around town and became spectators of the pulling. Later that night, Courtney arrived in Murakami to catch the tail end of the day’s events.
This was hands down, the greatest matsuris of them all!!