Tokyo Diaries – Kagurazaka Matsuri

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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.

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4 comments

  1. e

    Hot and sticky yet look at how they can move and jump under layers of fabric and accessories. Respect :,).
    The guy with the sunflower ears is quite funny – and oh my goodness if I ever wished to make an etymological cosplay of my nick I'd probably wear those too, ahah – .
    I think my favourites are the dancing kids though. And one of them children is dressed in green too! Come here let this gaijin auntie hug you you awesome adorable kiddo you.
    Oh, and the third video. Stylish. Love those straw(?) hats too, they look very similar to the ones donned by the ladies in pink from your Tanabata post.

  2. As for Hiwamari-man, I definitely saw some of those moves at Grateful Dead concerts.

  3. e

    Ohhh 8D. And… concerts? The secret life of Dead Head Enzo!
    Now that you made me focus on the moves alone I've seen something similar myself recently as with some friends I mingled with the followers of a marching band during the last Turin jazz festival. And most of the ones moving in that peculiar way were wearing something mustard yellow-coloured (one had mustard pants, one a t-shirt, one a jacket. And no, they were totally random members of the audience). No sunflower ears but still yellow. Hmmmm.

  4. R

    I have never seen Bon dance with my own eyes, and watching the videos I wish that I were there — the dances looked so fun.

    If I were you, I definitely would feel super excited about a major matsuri in my neighbourhood. Talking about your neighbourhood, I still remember back when you were looking for an apartment, and you chose the one in Kagurazaka at the end. It felt like yesterday, but it's been more than half a year since you moved in. How's your apartment? How's life there? It's only recently I found out on RC that you are working on a screenplay and teaching English at the same time. I hope that everything that you are working on will lead you to wonderful opportunities, prosperity and happiness.

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