Tokoname Matsuri~

14 04 2009

Hey guys, it seems the matsuri posts aren’t very popular  sadly, so I’ll end this series on this one.  I could be wrong, but I believe that all these matsuri Spring is apparently the season of Matsuri’s with a number of different regions holding on matsuri’s on different weekends.  The dates are usually somewhat planned in advance.  For example, the earliest matsuri will sometimes start with the Southernmost town/city and move Northward from there.  You could in fact go to all of them, but the method of celebration is largely the same, with only slight distinctions between areas.  However,the main feature that sets each matsuri apart is the 山車 or dashi.  These things essentially function as portable shrines and they are dragged all across the town from shrine to shrine to shower blessings along the way.  The finishing point for this parade route also sets the point where all the shops gather up to serve the hundreds of people who have been participating with food and games.  Alright without more introductions, let’s go on with the happenings of the day!

Dashi 1/6!  Whoa this is totally different from the one near my house

Dashi 1/6! Whoa this is totally different from the one near my house

This matsuri was completely different in scale from the one I saw near my place last week.  For starters, every single shrine in the suburb of Tokoname was participating this meant a whooping 6 dashi and a huge crowd to go with each one.  I have no idea how many people participated, but probably most of the town did.  Each dashi is dedicated to a different temple and they are supposedly relics with extremely long histories.  They had information pamphlets for each car, but I was too lazy to read them hah!

Dashi 2/6 passing by my high perch!

Dashi 2/6 passing by my high perch!

The dashi appear to be extremely heavy and the pullers and pushers from each dashi take liberal but planned breaks.  There was never a case of one group of people running into another group.  The breaks are also strictly planned and timed by the leader of each cart so the floats are extremely punctual.  If the map says the floats will be at the bridge I’m standing on at 2:25pm, they WILL be there at 2:25pm.  It’s a bit of a departure from North American parades that are routinely 1-2 hours late.

Liberal Break times underneath some shade.  You can see some people just sleeping while sitting on the group.

Liberal Break times underneath some shade. You can see some people just sleeping while sitting on the group.

Concessions cart.  These guys were handing out ice cream to both staff and people walking along with the dashi.  O and cigarettes are also part of the concessions apparently.

Concessions cart. These guys were handing out ice cream to both staff and people walking along with the dashi. O and cigarettes are also part of the concessions apparently.

Dashi number 3 and crew taking it easy until it's time to go!

Dashi number 3 and crew taking it easy until it's time to go!

The atmosphere is just incredible at the matsuri, everyone is incredibly pumped about the whole thing.  You can usually hear their Sei!! NO!! chants far before you can actually see the dashi in the distance.  In the city, every time they pass by a store that’s open, they all mob the store while singing some sort of song to offer their blessings like so!

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or like so!

Oo unintentional lens flare

Oo unintentional lens flare

Slowly but surely, the dashi all arrive at the finish point, which happens to be in front of the train station. They start putting up these electric lanterns and other decorations on their dashi once they’re parked and get to partying it up with the crowd.

Putting up the decorations!

Putting up the decorations!

And time for the older ones to party!

Older kids partying

Older kids partying

And the lolis to take over the work of making music :(.

The younger kids don't actually do much except walk with the float, so I guess now they have to pull their weight.

The younger kids don't actually do much except walk with the float, so I guess now they have to pull their weight.

The last dashi gets discriminated against is told to park far away from the pack.

The last dashi gets discriminated against is told to park far away from the pack.

Once fully setup, the dashi are actually pretty darn cool.  They also keep the lanterns on for the night stretch of the matsuri.  Though they have to take those tall things on the top off, because they make the dashi unstable when moving.

Fully Setup Dashi.  Scroll down to see the dashi in action with the lights on!

Fully Setup Dashi. Scroll down to see the dashi in action with the lights on!

Ok enough about the dashi :P.  Now for the real fun part, the booths.  Unfortunately, the booths were mostly food and very few games.  I really wanted to try catching goldfish with paper nuts, since that seems to be commonplace in harem manga/anime :P.  However, I did find this!  Real life Fish shaped Taiyaki!

kanon20070203223741-taiyakiTaiyaki da!  It's real life taiyaki!

I also found….  Candied Applies or ringo ame.  I swear I see these things in anime all the time, but now that I need a shot of it, I can’t find it.

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Here are some other shots of the food available.  I ended up going for the Osaka Yaki, the takoyaki, and the  taiyaki.

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Osaka Yaki

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Tropical Fruit Juice :O

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TAKOYAKI!

Choco Bananas.  I swear I've seen these in Lucky Star

Choco Bananas. I swear I've seen these in Lucky Star

French Fries and Fried Chicken.. yup...

French Fries and Fried Chicken.. yup...

Alright I better wrap this up.  Around 7PM, the dashi all departed from the train station to park at the nearest shrine.  The procession was the same as during the day, but now we have lights and night photography :P.

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Zooom!  Trying out a creative use of motion blur.  Because the wheels of the dashi can't turn, they're forced to take corners really fast in order for the dashi to not understeer badly.

Zooom! Trying out a creative use of motion blur. Because the wheels of the dashi can't turn, they're forced to take corners really fast in order for the dashi to not understeer badly.

Anyway… in conclusion :P.  I made this with the stop motion video capability of my camera.  It’s gotta be the dumbest feature ever included on a DSLR, but oh well.

Alright, that’s it for now!  I had a lot of fun attending this, as you can probably tell from my post :P.  I hope you guys enjoyed reading too!  Next stop is hopefully Hiroshima, Miyajima, and Onomichi inspired by my current favorite manga Pastel!

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9 responses

14 04 2009
Devake

why are there always so many jp ppl with dyed blonde hair?

14 04 2009
bluemage

YEAH!!!!! FISH-SHAPED TAIYAKI!!!!! AYU!!!!! UGUU~ ^_^

Wow this matsuri is certainly more festive! And great pictures too!

Just a couple of comments:

Funny Spelling Error: “I really wanted to try catching goldfish with paper nuts, since that seems to be commonplace in harem manga/anime…”

Paper nuts just sounds kinda…wrong?

The photo with the tropical fruit juice looks kinda bright. By bright I mean that they look like coloured chemicals that you would find in a lab or something, not juice. O_O

And yes, I swear I’ve seen choco-bananas in Lucky Star too.

But of course, Fried Chicken and French Fries never fail. =)

Oh great, now I have a craving for them…

14 04 2009
Matteas

Taiyaki~ I want some too!

Yeah, Candy Apple is frequent in anime too, but now I can’t say any series name I’ve seen it in. Maybe in Higurashi, I think.

14 04 2009
robostrike

Wow, that youtube video was really fast…Just out of curiousity, how fast were the dashi travelling at??
Taiyaki seems pretty nice treat to have…being Canadians, hopefully a stand will come near us soon…within travelling distance.

14 04 2009
maru

Another Pastel fan? LOL!

Hmm I have to say real life taiyaki looks less attractive as they do in anime.. Do they taste better I wonder :3

14 04 2009
Chris

@maru: The taiyaki available in stores are a lot closer to the anime presentation, with firmer dough. But I liked the fresh-made ones better (had one at Benzaiten in Ueno Park)… perhaps because it was still warm 🙂

@robostrike: You could try making your own, but you’ll need a fish-shaped mold: http://www.recipezaar.com/Taiyaki-282549

What’s Osaka-yaki? I thought I’d covered almost all of the ‘yaki’s when I was in the country…

Pictures-wise… if your apartment had a view of a street, waterway, harbour, or shopping area, you’d find that stop-motion video capability captivating… or sky. Sunsets and sunrises (not to mention stars or shooting stars) make good ‘stopmotion’ videos. (though I think the more correct wording would be ‘timelapse’) Try here for ideas: http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/Samples:_Timelapse_movies

You seem to be getting much better at holding still for your night shots. Now only if your subjects would do the same! (Nice experiment with the motion blur. Next experiment should be to try doing the reverse: track the float with your lens and let the background go blurry)

18 04 2009
YukiPhnx

did you know you can get fish-shaped taiyaki close to Toronto?

There’s usually a taiyaki stand outside the popular korean supermarket Galleria near Steeles and Yonge, on the York region side (hence the “close to Toronto”)

It’s a hit and miss cause it’s not always there. But they’re delicious!~

18 04 2009
meronpan

your video is awesome, haha ^^;;

ever since playing kanon i’ve loved taiyaki ^^; there’s a place in japantown in san francisco that sells it, but unfortunately after they’re cooked they leave them on an unheated rack so they get cold -_- soooo not that same if they’re cold orz

mmm yet another sort of thing i wish to attend some day. this is my second exposure to such events… the first being a chapter of yotsubato ^^;;

is osaka yaki another word for/type of konomi-yaki? or a completely different food?

20 04 2009
aaroninjapan09

@maru: Yup I’m a pastel fan. I’ve got a bit of a treat lined up for other pastel fans once I can get my next article sorted.

@Yukiphnx: I had no idea such a store existed, I will be sure to check it out once I get home:P.

@meronpan: Osaka yaki is in fact okonomiyaki, except it’s done in Osaka’s style. There really isn’t a heck of a load of a difference between okonomiyaki styles, except for Hiroshima’s okonomiyaki which is unique.

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