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Mikoshi Festival

by kawaii_ninja:hellokitty.com

August 2010

A mikoshi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikoshi) is a portable shrine used in Japanese Shinto traditions.  A bunch of groups from the community make the shrines and then decorate them elaborately, sometimes in very traditional themes, others in very modern motifs, like based on anime or manga, e.g. Neon Genesis Evangelion.   Then, like in this particular festival, there is a dance contest of sorts where the groups try to outdo each other by lofting the shrine from side to side in beat with the music.  It’s fun to watch and I’m told even more fun to participate in.

Not my best photos ever…

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 I also uploaded some video I took of the festival and put them together into a Dream Studio presentation.



by kawaii_ninja:hellokitty.com

July 2010

 I got a little ahead of myself there, I forgot to write what the festival was all about.  The festival, held on a specific day during the summer, based on the Japanese lunisolar calander, is called the Tanabata Matsuri, or “Star Festival” in English.  The festival is based on a Chinese legend, and goes as follows:

 “According to an old legend, a king of the heavens separated his daughter, The Weaver Princess Star, from her husband, The Cow Herder Star, because their intense love kept them from their duties.  Now they can only meet once a year-on the eve of July 7th-by crossing the Milky Way…To celebrate this romantic story, people write poems and special wishes on colorful strips of paper called tanazaku,  and hang them from the limbs of bamboo trees.”

 Story from, Japanese Celebrations; Cherry Blossoms, Lanterns and Stars!  Written by B. Reynolds.  

These are the tanazuka, little paper strips that have wishes written on them.  The yellow one is by a little girl who wants to become a pet shop attendant.


I’m pleased with how this picture came out.

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Hirosaki Hanami

by kawaii_ninja:hellokitty.com

May 2010

I guess I got busy back May/June time frame and didn’t get these posted.  This year I went with some friends and had a lot of fun.  It’s too bad this is the last year I’ll be here for.

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Hirosaki Lantern Festival

by kawaii_ninja:hellokitty.com

We had a great time here, and I took a ton of photos, so to start with I’ll post the link to the album: http://kawaiininja.pixa.us/albums/70773/Hirosaki-Lantern-Festival-2010?page=1

I’ll limit these to my favorites, but there are so many more.

I can’t wait to get back out here in the spring for the cherry blossom festival!


Bean dog and Hello Kitty!


The castle

The bird says “Welcome to Hirosaki”

These were decorated by local school children, there were hundreds of them.

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 I went with a bunch of friends this year, it was a lot of fun.  The temperature was around -8 degrees Celsius, I’m glad I bundled up.

My favorite

This links to a video compilation of the event I put together with the Dream Studio.

Pretty ice sculptures


The ice bar

This is where everyone holes up when they get to cold


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