Well I know I shouldn’t be complaining (what with half the UK underwater at the moment), but I’m bored of snow. We’ve had it here for 3 months now, there was a wonderful moment when it almost went away a few weeks ago but it’s STILL HERE! I love snow, but this is just ridiculous…Tokyo had snow the other day, for the first time in years, and it just ground to a halt – very reminiscent of the UK. It also happens to be cold, very cold. However, I can’t complain too much – it’s National Foundation Day here in Japan, so I get a loverly day off (^^)

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Now, the main point of this entry, apart from bemoaning the cold, was to talk about the festival (I know, another one) that I went to at the weekend. This one was called the ‘Namahage Sedo Matsuri’ (yes, our old friends the Namahage) and was to take place up in Oga – in the North of the prefecture where we went to see the original Namahage performance.

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The idea of the festival is that the Namahage come down from the mountain (flaming torches in hand), do some dancing/drumming, grant some wishes, scare some kids and then go back up into the mountain.

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All the while, it was snowing (annoying for taking pictures and general warm-ness) and we hung around a huge fire (nice and toasty). So it was a combination of hair freezing and ashes, but definitely fun!

The bit I wanted to see the most was the Namahage dance, I only got a side view but it was still pretty cool. We had to kneel down in the snow (since we were in the first few rows), so we had cold knees by then end of it, but I felt most sorry for the Namahage. They only had straw shoes on (no socks)!

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Since the festival took place right next to the Namahage museum, we got to see a number of different costumes that came from different areas and eras:

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I think this video of the procession covers the mood of the festival best!

While I thaw out, you can enjoy this 🙂 next weekend I’m heading off to the Yokote Kamakura Festival – what’s that, you ask? Well, it’s lots of these:

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So until then, またね!