festival

First step, toss your old rake in this big pile

recycle_kumade_tori_no_ichi_hanazono 始めに、去年の熊手をここに投げています。そこ大きい熊手は高かったそうです。 Last year’s rake must have cost hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. That’s the price of good luck. pile_recycle_kumade_tori_no_ichi_hanazono

Between Jonathans and Tokyo Daihanten chain restaurants

lanterns_tori_no_ichi_hanazono

二つのチェイン・レストランの間で、酉の市の提灯が見えます。新宿の花園神社です。

The rows of lanterns signal Tori no Ichi is happening. I’ll post some photos of my favorite festival at Shinjuku’s Hanazono shrine.

Local groups assemble in Shinjuku ni chome for Hanazono festival

men_hanazono_matsuri_2chome

新宿の花園神社の祭りで、路地にそれぞれ違う町内会の服装が見えます。このリーダは僕にピースサインをしています。

Two different groups are occupying a Shinjuku ni-chome side street. At first I wondered why the leader was pointing at me. Then I realized he was giving me the peace sign. The in-between ritual time is just as fascinating as the heavy lifting of the portable shrines. I wish the streets were this lively every day.

Festivals are the best part of summer in Tokyo

dog_sanjamatsuri

東京の夏は、祭りが一番楽しいです。通行止めにした路上に、大勢が集まって、たくさんの人が伝統的な服を着て、楽しい雰囲気です。

I love Tokyo when festivals bring neighbors into the street carrying portable shrines; eating, drinking and dancing on streets closed to traffic; and wearing traditional outfits. In May I went to Sanja matsuri in Asakusa as well as a festival at Hanazono shrine in Shinjuku.

A long line waits at shrine to give an offering at festival

神社の献金を上げるのために、待っている人が多いです。大宮八幡というきれいな神社に、夫は子供のときに、よく行きました。杉並区の善福寺川の隣です

Omiya Hachiman shrine is near where my husband grew up in Suginami ward. It’s also next to a beautiful green corridor that follows the Zenpukuji river.  I love the elegant building, and all the decorations including the purple cloth with Edo crests, the red and white stripes, the rope and lightning bolts, and the big lanterns.

Musicians preforming at festival on a wooden boat

芝お祭りに、演奏家たちが、木材の船で演奏します。マクドの前、路上で。

I love how these Shiba festival musicians are performing in a wooden boat. The musician closest to me put on the mask when he saw me reach for my camera. I love that there’s a boat in the street in front of McDonalds.

Elegant ladies dancing on the street at Shinto festival in Shiba

お祭りのときに、素敵な着物を着たおばあさんが、路上で踊っています。友だちのバスと、9月の芝のお祭りに行きました。

On a wide boulevard normally devoted to multi-lane auto traffic, nothing could be more beautiful than the site of elegant ladies in matching kimonos and hats dancing in synchronized movements. The summer and fall Shinto festivals transform business Tokyo into a series of village parties evoking an agrarian culture rarely sensed inside the megalopolis.

Below are photos from the Shiba matsuri. The sub-group near my friend Bas’ home displayed photos from the 1945 festival, just a month after the end of the war in which the entire neighborhood and much of Tokyo was burnt to the ground. The last photo shows a man who is both telling stories and selling bananas, a continuation of an Edo-era festival character.

In the photos you can see how on a special holiday, the streets, overpasses, convenience stores, and other mundane urban spaces are transformed into a very social and well dressed public environment.

A temporary fishing pool for kids

日本で携帯釣りプールを初めて見ました。楽しそうです。

I like this fishing game that’s often at Japanese festivals. Above is from Asagaya’s Tanabata festival. The scoop is made of a paper that quickly dissolves, so you want to catch as many fish as fast as you can.