It’s all about the old dude in the sunflower ears.
There are bigger festivals in Tokyo, but no bigger in my neighborhood. Kagurazaka’s annual bash is this weekend (it started on Wednesdays in fact). I feel a definite sentimental attraction to this one, being as it’s the first major festival that’s actually in my town.
Like many of Japan’s summer festivals, this one has its roots in Obon. And like many, it has a celebratory feel despite that. Teams of Bon Odori dancers and musicians start out at Iidabasahi and Kagurazaka stations and march down Kagurazaka-dori, meeting in the middle. This is one of the most traditional neighborhoods in Tokyo but it’s usually pretty dignified – not so during the matsuri.
I attended several Obon festivals with Bon dances back in the USA – San Jose’s was my favorite, Gardena’s the biggest – and it’s always fun to see everyone from toddlers to ancient and withered roujin performing (they practice for weeks for this event). Easily the highlight for me – and seemingly most of the crowd – was this guy. With his himawari-mimi and his hilarious expressions, the guy was clearly born to be on stage. It was hot and sticky out there even in the audience, but he was obviously having a great time.