Friday, October 07, 2005



THE SECOND SUNDAY of October is supposed-to-be SPORTS DAY...
or what some say THE HEALTH DAY.
Hence, the next day, a Monday is a holiday in the Land of the Rising SUN
[although the Sun is barely in the horizon today...DOSHO? ]
TONIKAKU, the setting is ready [I saw the Temple area glittering and spruced up last night as I was driving from work] and today, all roads lead to the SPORTSFEST.
BUT FOR SOME REASONS, our group seemed fit to incorporate the MATSURI [FESTIVAL]ALONG WITH THE SPORTSFEST this week. Why they did it, I have no idea....Perhaps to economize? Hmmm...
THERE is the program for the three-day affair distributed last week. It is filled wth activities from sun up to sun down. There is even a KARAOKE TAI KAI [A KARAOKE SINGING CONTEST], some food stalls, and more....
Food sold are, of course, cheap and beer sells for 100 Yen ONLY!
There is YAKITORI [CHICKEN BARBECUE],YAKISOBA [PANCIT-Japanese style],YAKIMOCHI[ inihaw na MOCHI -parang TIKOY, only this one is pure w/no sugar, hence, tasteless; they just use SOY SAUCE],
ODEN [this is a combination of BOILED EGGS, TOFU, KONYAKU, etcetera].
ODEN is something best eaten on cold winter nights. Not only is it healthy,it also appeals to my palate.This one is prepared way ahead of time and boiled for a long time.
LEADERS have been assigned to watch over each section and program.
The schedule is quite hectic.The last entry is supposed to start at 2115! Fantastic!
YATAI [SMALL SHRINE/parang CAROSA sa atin] will make the rounds of the area and will converge at the TEMPLE area.This will be done especially at night, for the residents to see the beauty of the YATAIs.They are fully decorated with kids atop, playing some tunes [ala-banda style].Eager parents take pictures while bystanders pose as they use their mobiles to record the moment....
I have seen so many MATSURIs here: each place have distinct way of celebrating theirs.
Ours is a small town,hence the YATAIs and the MATSURIs are small-time [if one may call it that!]
MATSURIs are celebrated as a show of GRATITUDE to the Gods for a GOOD HARVEST.
That is why,most MATSURIs are done AFTER HARVEST-TIME, which is about this time.
Note that Japan has only one planting seasonwhich starts in Spring. Unlike ours which can accomodate two, this country has four-seasons, hence...
WHILE MATSURIs are good ways to celebrate the communal spirit of the people,
some youngsters see this as a way to drink liquor away from the prying eyes of their parents. Since most youngsters are involved in dancing in the streets wearing those famous "HAPI" coats, it is AFTER the dancing that these teenagers stay longer and help themselves to the OSAKE [RICE WINE].
I have seen lots of street fights involving these kids.Hence, the security is beefed up by the presence of policemen who make themselves visible especially in the TOKAI [capital] region.
In our place, there were incidents of group wars and street fighting as well.These are GAKIs [ BULLIES, BRATS]who perhaps, need some beatings from over-busy parents. Or is it love they need? I wonder....
THIS is also the reason why JIJI has ceased to participate activelyin these activities.
He says his conttribution only make some kids go berserk after drinking rice wines....

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