Shibukawa Dashi Matsuri

ok so this is the 2nd last big post i have... promise.. just gotta get the backlog out of the way and then i can get on with more random stuff :3

The Shibukawa dashimatsuri happens once every 2 years and it involves each of the different wards of the city pulling giant traditional floats (or Dashi) around town. Everyone dresses up in their ward's colours and has a big weekend long party. The dashi is a giant wooden monstrosity with people playing traditional instruments and gaudy mascots representng the wards placed on them.

On the saturday I took a stroll up the road in the miserable rainy weather and almost immediately encountered 3 of my students, and one of my colleagues waiting out the rain before the pulling got underway again :3
I strolled up the road under my 100Y umbrella, took a few pics and not entirely certain what was going on really. Then it began. I heard some chanting and different groups began to move their floats around. it was energetic but it seemed a bit dampened by the rain. i made a right toward the Tsutaya and wtched there for a bit. The group that my student's were with came around eventually and one of the 1st graders gripped my arm and pointed at the dashi and said to me "Ishogi wasshoi".. i was like WTF. he then bolts off and comes back with his sister and her boyfriend in tow. They through very broken english and easy Japanese basically explained that they wanted me to help pull the dashi. Yeah why not... could be fun....

THAT WAS IT! basically pulling the dashi is a cross between skanking and Tug of War. it is insanely high energy and a TONNE of fun!!!!!So i'm having a great time shouting Wasshoi Wasshoi and stomping along pulling a huge ass float around then we stop next to another ward's float. Float race ! yup we had to race the other group.. sadly we just lost, but it was a blast!

Then the next bit of awesomeness happened. I'm not entirely certain what it is but when the dashi's are stopped we did this amped up wall of death and epic skank... JUST FOR FUN!!!! all the time shouting WASSHOI WASSHOI!!!!! at one such stop our shouting tore a hole in the sky and the rain came down in buckets.... so we SHOUTED LOUDER!!!! and it got harder.. so we shouted EVEN LOUDER!!!!

eventually saturday was at an end and we made our way back to the ward from which the dashi came, and i went back home soaked.

Sunday came along and it was just a grey day. no real rain. I went to a traditional clothes shop, got me some Jika Tabi and walked around for a bit. I found the previous night's group eventuallu and was instantly recognised and half dragged onto the rope by some of the more boistrous high schoolers from the night before. I continued along the same way as the day before.. all day..

when i finally got to bed i was broken... in the morning i couldn't move my right arm... how the hell do you sprain your bicep??!!!

Needless to say, in 2010 i'm gonna be joining in again :3

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