Monday, March 24, 2008

Okkawa "Dashi" Festival and delicious greek food

  Every week-end there is a festival somewhere in Japan. If you are ready to travel around the country every week-end you can experience the joyful atmosphere, nice japanese food and deserts that you buy on a street and eat on a street too (you would be happy if you would find an empty meter of local road border so you can seat on it) and watching a lot of people hanging around searching for a drink =)

  This Sunday it was the "Dashi" Festival in Okkawa - small town near Nagoya. This is a very dangerous festival to carry floats up and down the hill. Young men who take the first position of a steersman can merry the most beautiful girl in  Okkawa area. Of course now it's only a tradition, but the men are fighting for the important place as it was long time ago. The clothes which everybody in town wears on this day is hundred years old (literally). They don't wash it so it does not bleach.

  The Dashi's (floats) are extremely beautiful. They have such a fine chasing that you can admire it for hours. On the top of them there is a place for performance of karakuri mechanical dolls which is very strange for the western eyes and even more strange for the ears.

  By 13:30 all the men are gathering at the Dashi's, the most exciting part begins: the Dashi's have to be pushed down the hill. The guys are very excited, we think they have drunk not less then a liter of sake per person  so they are completely ready for their assignment. The person in red gives the order to start and the first Dashi starts moving. 50 people are busy pushing and pulling it down the hill. Everybody is shouting, the leader of the group shouts "Fight, guys! Fight!!!", everybody is drunk, so the whole dragging is a complete mess =) When the Dashi is down the hill, the children can take part in pulling it too. So the rope becomes 25 meters longer and 50 more people (but this time these are small children) can drag the Dashi along the streets of Okkawa. Everybody is enjoying the party.

  Forgot to tell that a woman is not allowed to touch the Dashi or to walk inside the ropes - bad luck. So when a small girl accidentally steps over the rope, the mother is extremely angry and explains her that she can never ever do it again. 

  All these details we've learnt from a woman, who simply came to us and started talking. Apparently she worked for TMC (Toyota Motor Corporation) for ten years and was curious what are two "gajins" doing at the quite local festival. 

The full photo gallery is here.

  As we are not the citizens of the town for us it's enough to see the Dashi has come to the place safely, so we leave for the other nice place that we discovered last week while we were searching for the nice views of the Ume (japanese plum) blossom. It is Soori lake, which is also not so far from Nagoya and has a very nice park around it. The weather is absolutely beautiful, it's 24 degrees and the sun is shining! We've even got some red skin at the end of the day =) There we make all our "Ume blossom" pictures and we are sure to come there a lot more for a nice terrace near a small artificial river with an astonishing view on the blossoming trees.

  Sunday is a calm day. First Sergey's training for the motorcycle driving license (it' a long story, so as soon as he gets the license it will be published =) and in the evening - dinner at Dimi's place (Greek cuisine). He cooked "mussaka" for us and in combination with Ume wine and Chimay Blue it was finger-licking good!

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