year the city ALTs and I marched in Shiro Matsuri
('Castle Festival' which is actually more just a parade).
It was interesting and so many people in Wakayama city
come out and stand along the main street to see the
procession. Probably every company is out and dancing
in the parade as well, from Ninomiya, a big electronics
store, to the local beer company, parading in fuzzy
soon as we stepped into the BOE and sat down at the
long table spread with all sorts of very Japanese foods,
they brought out the beer. HUGE mugs of beer. They were
almost speechless when we all refused politely (none
of us are drinkers). I'm afraid we seemed a bit non-adventurous...
Glen's not really up for trying new foods and Allen's
a vegatarian (nearly everything was seafood or had seafood
in it). Lesa and I tried some various Japanese foods.
As much as I wanted to please my hosts, I just couldn't
bring myself to eat those little fish eggs. Or the raw
squid. Lesa did, though. The raw squid that is. I should
have taken a before and after shot of her eating the
squid. The look on her face after she tasted it was
three hours spent on the 11th floor in city hall wasn't
boring at all. A number of the men had been drinking,
presumably for hours, and they were quite drunk by the
time we got there (apparently this is a very common
thing. Men from all sorts of companies can be seen staggering
in the parade). The hair comes down at these types of
things and even if the men aren't truly drunk, you get
to see how they really are, or rather how they would
like to be outside of the confines of Japanese strictures.
One man who staggered into the BOE entertained us with
a bit of sleight of hand, number magic and I think there
was a card trick thrown into the mix somewhere. He's
the guy wearing the wig on the left. Another man who
came by sat himself next to Lesa and started telling
us how he had once played in a famous stadium in Japan
when he was in highschool, maybe 30 years ago. Hmmm.
You got to wonder about a guy's life when he probably
believes that the only worthwhile thing he can tell
strangers about himself is his glory days in high school
baseball. He also was getting really close to Lesa and
was really fawning over her. Bordering on harassment.
Pawed her a bit, put his arm around her, didn't touch
her in any really questionable reigons, but pissed me
off all the same.
it was time. The procession had been going on for some
time already and it was time we got in line to march.
We got on our 'happy coats', getting some help when
we needed it. Again, the drunk, baseball-glory-days
pawer came out and was overly helpful with both Glen
and Lesa. On the side with our boss, Mr. T., we talked
about some of the finer points of sexual harassment.
He thought what that guy was doing was wrong, even for
being drunk, but he also said that everyone would just
let it slide because he was drunk.
we get outside and find out place in line. This year,
the people at city hall, who kind of host the parade,
were last, to sort of thank everyone for coming out
and participating. We went out around 8 or 8:30, and
going out so late, we thought we wouldn't be standing
around in the heat (it was still really hot that night),
but we were! For about an hour and a half or so. That
was ok, though, cause there was plenty to see. Everyone
was decked out in costume or yukata. Glen
and Lesa snapped a bunch of pics of the parade and
some of the more exotic participants. Like the vikings
who work the show at Port Europa across the river (you
can see them in the slideshow below. The Kirin beer
company employees are also in the slideshow).
ages were represented. Little kids in yukata or costume.
They were absolutely adorable (is it ok for a guy
to say that?). Plenty of drunk men, too! Of course,
none of us remembered how to dance the dance, but it
looked like not too many people did. So many people
seemed noticeably more slack with the precision of the
dance this year than last year. Except for the man from
the BOE who took it upon himself to teach us how. He
danced in front of us, leading the way for the BOE,
enjoying the dance a little too much, I think. But,
hey. Whatever floats your boat, you know what I'm saying?
was late when we finally finished the parade. The stalls
that sold the cotton candy and Japanese treats and carnival
games were pretty much closed up.
the pics!! Take care, folks!
in yukata and ceremonial dress
to see a few more pictures?