So this past week was a holiday in Nippon (aka Japan), and Aya, Kai, my Mother in-law, her friend and myself all went off to the neighboring prefecture for a day trip. We checked out the Wisteria Festival of Takehanabetsu-In, I can’t say it either, but the town sure did put on a good show.
When we first arrived in the small village we had to wade through the sea of street vendors (and the random Godzilla Museum) that lined the main road, which took us to the center of the festival. There, a 300 year old Wisteria Tree was in full bloom and it was located next to the main temple of the town. The flowers were absolutely beautiful and I was able to snap some shots of Kai under the tree. The branches spread about 33 meters by 15 meters, which is 110ft by 50ft, and they are held up by a lattice structure just above your head. I couldn’t believe how much space this one tree covered and it seemed like there must have been 4 trees worth of flowers hanging over us. The pictures don’t really do it justice and it didn’t help that we forgot the digital camera. I had to take all the pictures with my cell phone, so that is why they seem so fuzzy.
After we walked under the tree for awhile, we made our way to the beginning of the parade. This involved a lot of old guys pushing these huge floats, which were taller than they were long (not going to see any of these guys in a Mardi Gras parade). The floats looked more like moving two-story elevator shafts with a lot of cool decoration and designs, if that gives you an idea. Inside were people playing music on traditional Japanese instruments like the taiko and shamisen and on top were people dressed in kimonos waving. It was pretty impressive and altogether there was seven of these floats which paraded around the town after the opening ceremony photo-shoot (it’s the photo-shoot, it’s the photo….).
I have to say though, while this whole event was pretty interesting to watch, Kai was getting as much, if not more attention, from all the old ladies in the crowd. People just seem to go crazy and get the willies around him, but hey, who could blame them right?