parade

Commemorating Japan suspending nuclear power on May 6, 2012

日本の原発の全休止が実行されて、5月6日に高円寺でパレードがありました。演説、抗議のプラカード、散歩、音楽、そしてコズプレがありました。あいにく、強い嵐が来て、雹が降っていました。それでも、幸せな会合でした。

The day after Japan suspended operations at the last nuclear plant, there was a celebration in Koenji that involved speeches, protest signs, marching, music, and fun costumes. Unfortunately, as soon as the march began, there was incredible hail and wind. Nonetheless, it was a happy parade throughout Koenji.

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Wildlife pets on parade near Odaiba beach

お台場で一番意外だったことは珍しい動物を見たことです。ペットをどうして飼いたいのかわかりませんでしたが、オーナーたちの愛情と公共の光景が楽しかったです。イチオピアの亀とプレーリードッグと一緒にいると、だれかが話しかけてきて、知らない人と会うことが簡単になります。

One of the unexpected pleasures of visiting Odaiba was exploring the close-knit community of exotic pet owners on the lawn just across from the artificial beach. We met an enormous Ethiopian turtle and two families of prairie dogs.

I confess that my joy for growing plants does not confer any insight into pet ownership. I personally prefer plants over animals when it comes to extra-species cohabitation. Still, I was amazed at the owners’ love for their pets and also the public spectacle they create. The pets are both extra-human companions and also intermediaries for meeting strangers of all ages.

Omatsuri in Tsukishima

Omatsuri in Tsukishima, dog

Last weekend Tsukishima held a lively omasturi (festival) in the summer heat and humidity. The dog above is wearing a traditional happi, a short cotton jacket with a design showing group affiliation. Old and new Japan seemed to come together as this dog’s owner participated in this ancient ritual with his “chosen” family of two well-dressed dogs.

Connecting street festivals to the theme of Tokyo Green Space is the alternative use of streets, not for automobile traffic but for commemoration, community, leisure, and drinking. There is a relaxed atmosphere to Japanese festivals that bring a small-town feeling to the enormous metropolis.

Omatsuri in Tsukishima

The shrine (omikoshi) paraded through the street is incredibly heavy. This one is being lifted by at least 40 people, with spectators throwing buckets of water and spraying hoses.

Omatsuri in Tsukishima

A group of mostly elderly carpenters led the procession singing a haunting song. If you click on the YouTube video below you can hear the chorus followed by a soloist and then the chorus again.

And finally, a very short video clip of carrying the shrine and chanting.