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Tenso Jinja Matsuri – Part 3

japanese friends at matsuri tenso jinja tokyo japan

If nothing else, this festival got our faces known in the neighborhood. Most Japanese are hesitant to say anything to a foreigner, in part because they don’t know if the person can speak Japanese. However, once that initial wall comes down they are the friendliest people on the planet. We made lots of friends during the day’s events.

The people in the above picture are serious festival lovers. They weren’t local. Rather, they travel around and participate in whatever weekend festival is currently taking place. We chatted for a long time and swapped numbers. I assumed that would be the last we’d hear from them, but they have already called to invite us to other matsuri.

They carried the mikoshi nearly all day and were in on the final demonstration which looked like a mosh pit. This picture was after they had freshened up about a half hour after the mikoshi had been placed. If you think they look spent and sweaty here, you should have seen them 30 minutes before!

My shoulder was seriously bruised for days and my quads were killing me the next day, yet I only carried it for about ten minutes. I can’t imagine what hours under it would have been like, let alone wanting to go at it again every weekend.

tenso jinja mikoshi wagasa

Here is a close up photo of the mikoshi (with wagasa) during one of the brief rests.

food and drink party after the mikoshi matsuri nishiwaseda

After all was said and done we went to return the Happi Coats we had borrowed on the prior day. Our neighbors insisted we join them for food and drink on the street corner. They stuffed us really good with gyoza, pizza (with toppings of squid and shrimp), and yakitori. Every time I took a sip of my drink it was immediately refilled by one of the many people sitting nearby.

Sorry about the quality on the above picture. It was taken after most people had left and the rest of us were parting. It doesn’t quite capture the mood and scene from 20 minutes before, but my son and I were pinned in and couldn’t take a photo any earlier. I enjoyed the dialogue with my neighbors. Now they know who the local foreigners are, that we’ll be here for a year, and that we can actually converse with them.

The above video is of the approach and entrance of the mikoshi back to its home after spending the prior seven hours going around town on the shoulders of its carriers. There was a men’s chorus, who you will hear and see at the beginning of the video, leading the mikoshi back through the torii gate. Hang in there until 1:40 in the video where things will pick up. The mikoshi will now rest away, out of view, for the next three years before its next journey.

4 Responses to “Tenso Jinja Matsuri – Part 3”

  1. 1
    Gunn White:

    Whata BIG event and lots of FUN!

  2. 2
    leif hagen:

    The photo of the Mikoshi is particularly great! Subarashi de yo! The Japanese festivals are wonderful!

  3. 3
    jewell:

    great as usual…

    please, what are the symbols on the back of the blue robes(pardon me i don’t know the correct name)? We see that symbol a lot.

  4. 4
    acase:

    Hi Jewell,

    By symbol I’m guessing you aren’t talking about the kanji, correct? The blue robes are called happi. We thought the symbol was one for the local shrine or organization. But then we saw it at a festival on the other side of Tokyo so now I’m not sure. Perhaps it is a symbol of a kind of shinto or organization. There are different kinds of shinto (inari, etc.), but I believe that happi was put out by our local Nishiwaseda organization.

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