#1 here. I am hijacking the blog today as I wanted to share a little bit of my big weekend adventure with you. Thanks to a wonderful Japanese friend who is lending me the flat I am staying at, I was able to take part in Tokyo's biggest traditional festival, Sanja Matsuri (translated as The Festival of the Three Shrines). You can read about it here.
On both Saturday and Sunday, I donned the traditional "uniform" of festival participants (for those who know, momohiki, maekake, happi, hachimaki and tabi), wearing the colours of the Komagata neighbourhood where I am staying, and paraded through the streets of Asakusa , first behind the Komagata portable shrine and, on Sunday, actually helping to carry both the small (only about 400-500 kilos!) neighbourhood Mikoshi (portable shrine) and one of the huge (weighing one tonne) main shrine Mikoshi. It was such a privilege for this older foreign woman! I saw a couple of young foreign men in the crowd of other neighbourhoods, but no other foreign woman, and no foreigner anywhere near my age! So, here are a few photos of my adventures.
With the old friend who is hosting me, in front of the portable shrine for the Komagata neighbourhood:
With the portable shrine (Mikoshi) of the Komagata neighbourhood:
The portable shrine and the crowds:
I met some fun people along the way...
And some cute kids:
The big portable shrine (Mikoshi) caught in a mirror:
And the biggest thrill was being allowed to help carry the neighbourhood shrine twice during the day!
Grey hair and two top knots fourth from the right!
An amazing experience!