Monday, September 17, 2012

Part Three of the Festival Weekend

I went to the Annual "Hyappei" Rice-cake pounding Festival with Vicky the English teacher on Saturday and with my neighbors on Sunday.  This festival has been running for over 100 years. The festival goers were able to help make mochi (rice cakes) with the world's heaviest pestle (200kg) pounding 60kg of rice in the world's largest mortar several times each day.

Saturday we walked to this festival after attending the other two festivals.  On Sunday I rode the bus with my neighbors to get downtown because the little neighbor has little legs.

 
There were food and game booths.  Children like this one, “fishing” for a balloon with water in it. The balloon has a stretch rubber band thing on it and is called a yo-yo.

 
Both days I saw the same street performer who did some magic and juggling.  He solved the rubic cube and ate the fire after he juggled it. He was very entertaining and I enjoyed both shows.  Even though I didn’t understand the words he was saying (Japanese), I could understand him because he was such a good performer.






 

 
 
I think the others in the crowd liked him as much as I did.
 


We also saw some Japanese drum performers.  I love being able to see and experience Japanese culture.


 
 
On Sunday, we helped with the mochi making. The mortar and pestle are on this big stage at the intersection of two streets and they are HUGE. 

 
There was a ceremony with the workers dancing around and putting the ingredients into the mortar. 


 
The festival goers lined up in four long lines and were given instruction on what to do. There were four big thick ropes attached to the pestle.  Each line pulled on the rope to raise the 200 kg. pestle, then let go of it on signal, so the pestle would drop down on the mochi mixture. I had visions of people not letting go and getting pulled with the rope but that didn’t happen.






 
After that was all done, people lined up for several blocks to get a little bowl of the mochi with red beans.  Each batch made enough for 1200 people to eat! This probably wouldn’t pass health department standards in the US and I’m usually kind of squeamish about eating things out in the open, but I wanted to do the whole festival thing and it was really good.



I’m always amazed at how people here can just crouch down and stay that way.  I’m better off standing.

 



Dogs here are always well dressed, especially at the festivals.

 

Tatsuma found all kinds of things to like about the festival.




 
I really enjoyed the weekend of festivals.  What fun! Tomorrow I will be back with the Queen.

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