Monday, June 07, 2010
The Tengu Comes
The Festival was in Sanjo City, right in the center of Niigata Prefecture. It started with a parade of local children carrying floats and playing music. Their performance really impressed me, it takes a lot of stamina to march in a parade, and they all took to their tasks with an abundance of sincerity.
One of the centerpieces of the parade was the Tengu, a demon who can be both a protector and an antagonist. The festival ends with the Tengu walking around the local shrine three times, while young children are held up by their parents for good luck, though we missed that part.
The local adult population also had a chance to show off their parading skills.
Once the parade had passed it was time for the true heart of every festival, festival food!
Though a significant percentage of Sanjo's population had that thought at the same time we did! The food stall alley was jammed with humanity, you would have thought we were in the heart of Tokyo rather than rural Niigata.
The shrine was surrounded by games, food, toy tents and more. Everybody was having a wonderful time, though the crowds could be a bit too much at times. Of course saying that Japan is crowded is like saying that the sun is bright, it's just a fact of life!