So Tanabata is here again. This is THE festival for Hiratsuka, so people go all out. It's supposed to celebrate two lovers who were tragically separated and died, so they can only meet on the 7th of July. Or something like that. But the reason isn't important, it's time to have a party! There are lots of streamers and decorations up, and the whole place is packed with people and food and game stalls. And no festival in Japan is complete without a large animatronic dinosaur. This year it's an apatasaurus (sp?).
The downside is that it's all located around the station, which means if you're going anywhere (like work) you have to wade through the crowds and you can't park your bicycle anywhere near the station anymore. And like all festivals that go on for 5 or 6 days (this one ends Monday, I believe), after a while all that piled up garbage and food starts to smell pretty ripe in the hot, humid weather. I feel sorry for the poor sods who live around there. Most people from Hiratsuka don't really care for it because there aren't really any big parades or ceremonies, it just seems to be a way to get people to go out and buy outrageously priced food. Of course, I found a place last year that sells gyros, so I'll be there every day for dinner.
I'll skip out on the smelly bit, since Saturday and Sunday I'll be in Narita with Ana and Damien. We're headed that way for the Gion Festival, the largest in that city. There'll be huge omikoshi(portable shrines), so big that they'll be on wheels pushed by a couple dozen guys and somebody who has to stand on top with a stick to keep the power lines out of the way. Now that's a festival!
We all went out and got jimbei (a traditional summer thing, like a really short kimono top and shorts) and yukata, so we can walk around in style. I even bought some geta, those funny wooden shoes that balance on two vertical pieces of wood. I'm getting better at walking in them, and with the added height I'm a veritable giant here.
I'm taking it easy tonight. I had a ocuple late nights and I feel a cold coming on. Don't want to be sick in the middle of a party. I'll post up some pics of the fiesta soon.