Saturday, 27 July 2013

tohoku festivals

I can not believe that July is nearly over.
Since my maternity leave has started, I always felt such an empty feeling without working like used to be. Sometimes I feel a day is so long and a week is like a month...
The weather finally got calmed here in London. We had really hot days in past couple of weeks and I couldn't go out much with Hugo under that strong heat.
But compare to Japanese summer, I still think England's summer is moderate.
I remember one summer in Tokyo, I lost 8kg in 2 weeks. Because the heat took my energy away and I lost appetite completely. It was not great diet to try... 

Even in this heat, the northern Japan is getting hotter in August.
The biggest summer festival called "Tohoku Sandai Matsuri"will be held in Aomori, Akita and Miyagi prefecture.
My mother's relatives are all living in north Japan. My 95 years old grandma, many aunties, uncles and cousins... My first ever trip to Aomori prefecture where my mother's home town, I was 6 years old. I've never met so many families and I was the youngest one in the family.
So I've got comic books (my parents never got them for me) and toys, fizzy drinks, sweets that I've never tasted before... my older cousins took me to everywhere. As I'm only child, I felt so much fun to spend some time with somebody else than my parents and my friends who is same age as me.
One night we went to Nebuta festival.
I was so excited with everything. Music, dancers and off course Nebuta float.

Nebuta is a HUGE illuminate float made by hand. Each float has a meaning and most of them are based on brave worrier in the historical or mythical figures from Japanese or Chinese culture or gods. This float is carried through in the city for 6 days(02/08-7/08) and on the last day, it will be carried to the sea. The dancers called Haneto, dressed in costume are jumping all night long.
You can be joining this festival as Haneto, but you have to be fully dressed.
When I participated in Nebuta, my auntie put so many little bells all over my costume and told me jump as much as you can tonight and drop everything off.
Coming home with some bells left, she was always telling me and my cousins, "I thought you'll coming home more quietly!" Sadly she's past away 2 years ago, I still remember her telling me this with big smile. 

It was not well known festival for foreigners until recently, but last time when I went to Nebuta festival, I was really surprised with amount of tourists from overseas. I've spoken to some of them on my journey and told me they are returning in this year to see the festival because they can not forget the excitement. I totally understand. I'm the same. It is really addictive feeling once you've experienced this.
Such a dynamic, beautiful and energetic nebuta festival is really get you. 
And music... When I hear that music, I feel my blood is bubbling inside of me.

If you are planning to visit Japan in early August, why not to visit Aomori and other festivals in Tohoku region. Don't forget to catch the bells that fall off from Haneto's costume. The bells are bringing the luck to you. 

more useful info: wikipedia, Japan,
tohoku festival 
tohoku 6 summer festival






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