Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Kuroishi Neputa Fesitval '08

It's summer in Japan again and the festivals have started! On a side note I have been living here in Aomori for one year. Time really knows how to fly! Just one year ago I made my first post here and included a short video of the Neputa festival in Aomori City. Unfortunately we weren't able to get up to Aomori City to see the big festival so I instead watched the local one here in Kuroishi.

Almost every town in this area has it's own small version of Neputa. Each district within a city participates with their own home made floats. I noticed that some floats were pretty large and extravagant!

Such as this one:

But there was also room for the smaller ones too:

The kids were pretty much all my students. I almost interrupted the whole procession when I waved and they tried to wave back while maintaining their drumming.

Some more of my students.

David and I were lucky enough to see the process of making these floats and helped a little on one. They are pretty much just wire mesh with thick paper glued on. The crescent shaped ones usually have a hydraulic lift underneath them. They will stop every once in a while and spin and lift for a roaring applause by the crowd. The larger more elaborate ones with demons and warriors are usually spun by human power.

I'll pull my darn float ya punks!

This is a great photo of a group of high school kids. Nothing like giant drums to get the fun started!

Usually the front of the crescent shaped floats contain a battle scene, while the back usually has something similar to this:

They females portrayed in the paintings are never very inviting...usually armed, and sometimes more snake-like than womanly.

Speaking of womanly...

I guess no parade is complete without a cross dresser.

The festival usually continues for five days straight with processions every night and a final one the morning of the last day. They always happen the first week of August and are unique to this area. Next week is the dance festival, Yosare. I will try to get some more photos of that and post it up. Risa and I will be in Hokkaido but we will be back just in time to catch the final night. Summer truly is an exciting time in Japan!

I will leave you with Obi-wan Neputa Jedi! Check out those sandals!