Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sanja Matsuri

This afternoon on our way to a Tokyo International Player's production of Into the Woods, I overheard someone discussing the Sanja Matsuri which was also happening today. It was a beautiful afternoon and it would have been a great day to be at the festival. It's one of the three great festivals of Tokyo, and is usually chaotic, sweaty and crowded affair. It's a little too crowded to attend with small children, and before wife and children, I attended the several times (in 2000 and 2001).

Today, before heading into the theater, I thought about these old photos. Back then I used to shoot film, and these shots were probably taken with a N90s and an old Nikon 80-200mm f2.8 AF (push-pull zoom). The first is of several mikosi heading down the Nakamise-dōri (or main street) leading to the shrine. If you are familiar with the gate to the temple complex, you will notice that the large paper lantern has been retracted to allow the mikoshi to pass under.

The crowds were thick, even around the mikoshi staging area or "parking" area off to the side of the shire.

The sight men in their happi coats, hearing festival drums, or the even when someone mentions the Sanja Matsuri brings back a certain "natsukashii" feeling and these memories seem to bubble up.

Somehow this young woman found a quiet alley to make a call.

At every festival in Japan, there are traditional games for the kids like this one.

These bottles of ramune (Japanese lemonade) have become one of my son's favorite flavors.

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