The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Abare Matsuri Part II

The second night on Saturday is the "violent" part of festival. We arrived in town around 8pm, and it seemed to us that the streets were less noisy than the evening before. Perhaps the residents were preparing the long exhausting night ahead. Rob made an interesting observation: it seems like the streets (at least in the Noto) were built to accommodate matsuri events - the heights of powerlines are just tall enough for the kiriko and the traffic lights are mounted on poles that can be swung out of the way.

After the usual kiriko-carrying up and down the streets, around 10pm, a mikoshi (portable shrine) was brought out from one of the town's shrines. The mikoshi was thrown into the river, and men (in quite a drunken state) jumped in and proceeded to bash the mikoshi into the concrete river banks. One of the ladies from our Saturday English convo class invited us to her sister's place which gave us an excellent view of the scene above the crowds. The lighting was quite bad, so these photos are not the best quality.

Throwing the mikoshi into the river and men jumping in after to thrash it around:

After 10-15 minutes of thrashing the mikoshi in the river, the mikoshi was lifted out and set on the bank of the river. The men had swollen red shoulders, but they don't seem to mind. Perhaps the sake was effective at numbing the pain.

Around 11pm, my friends were tired and wanted to go home. Rob stayed on until 2am to witness the remaining events. Another mikoshi from another shrine was given pretty much the same treatment as the first mikoshi at a smaller river. From what I understand, both mikoshi were then set on fire! Amazing sights that I missed, but thankfully I left my camera with Rob.

This was an amazing event and I'm glad that it was held in my town and we got to experience it!

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