Sunday, October 30, 2011

National Kokeshi Festival Part 4 全国こけし祭りパート4

Some of the dozens of kokeshi festival dancers on the main street of town. Look closely at their yukatas (summer kimono) for a surprise.
It rained on day one of the festival because of a typhoon, but the rain stopped long enough for the annual kokeshi parade and outdoor festival events at the town stage. The parade consisted of female dancers wearing kokeshi-print yukata (too cool), human-sized kokeshis, a kokeshi omikoshi 御神輿 (portable shrine), and a truck with drummers. Compared to the Nebuta Festival in Aomori, or Mardi Gras for that matter, this was pretty small scale. On the other hand, it was a parade devoted to kokeshis. Woo-hoo! The second part of the festival was a stage show with a taiko drum troupe and an school-girl singing/dancing group brought in from Tokyo. Both of these events were good, but by the time the event started it was raining cats and dogs and kokeshis, and pretty soon everybody scurried back to their inns. Well, we did anyway, soaking wet. The good thing is that we had a nice onsen awaiting us because that's how you do it in Japan. Anyway, the kokeshi adventure continues.

Close up of a Naruko yukata.
 A human-sized kokeshi in the parade.
More of the parade kokeshis.
The parade included this festive truck carrying kids playing drums. 
The kokeshi omikoshi carried by local kids.
The festival stage. Note the taiko drums. The taiko troupe braved the torrential rain and gave a terrific performance.
Did I mention that it rained?

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