Journey in Japan Part 53: In the Land of Spuds and Money
Today I overslept. It is 4 pm when I finally creep from my bed. Having missed a lot of the day, as well as without a plan, I make a decision to head to Asakusa to locate something to do.
When I reach Asakusa, I instantaneously hear the noise of banging drums. Complying with the music, I locate that there is an event occurring, the Hirosaki Neputa Festival. Generally a summertime event, the participants involve the more business area of Asakusa to raise attention for their event.Neputa drifts are dragged on wheels across the flooring. A samurai, and also a gold dragon.
These drifts up till in 2014 were carried in the air, but unfortunately, at an occasion in 2014 in Hirosaki, a male was crushed to fatality when one of the drifts fallen down; so for security factors the floats are no more floating.
The ceremony includes individuals carrying lights, striking drums, as well as songs from a carolers of grooves. It additionally consists of even more individuals bring red traffic managing light sticks than Ive previously seen in one place.I continue to adhere to the procession through Asakusa, up until it passes Sens-ji; at this moment I determine I have actually seen sufficient, so rather avoid for something to consume alcohol.
I head to a neighboring bar for a conversation with several of the residents. I fulfill a man who hasn’t had a day of rest help over a year, as well as works approximately fourteen hours a day. A guy celebrating his birthday enters into bench in a complete Santa Claus outfit. Fairly a strange sight to see in mid-November. He purchases a container of champagne and puts every person a glass.A few of the customers tell me regarding an occasion this eveningthat starts at precisely midnight. I determine to go and also think that waking up at 4 pm wasnt such as waste of a day nevertheless.
After a while of drinking, I had outside to discover that the outlet store Rox are putting up their Xmas decors. These aren’t the only decorations outside however, lots of little yellow paper lights markthe path bring about the temple for the festival. I adhere to the yellow lit road and eventually get to the entry toOtori Shrine.
Tonight, aneventknown asTori-no-Ichi is taking place. Held every November on each day of the rooster, over thirty Otori Shrines across Japan host this odd festival. Today is Tori-no-Ichi part among three, the 2nd instalment will certainly be held twelve days from currently. The main focus of the festival is rakes. A special rake called a kumade uses the power of a god and brings with it good economic ton of money and also prosperity in service.
People below are holding last years kumade, right here to return them as well as change them with a somewhat larger rake. They don’t get a refund for the rake they got in 2015; I am not also certain what occurs to them; probably, they are resold in twelve days time. These embellished rakes start from the smallest versions, setting you back around 1000 each, with the largest rakes, usually reserved for big companies, costing around 800 million.
I locate it rather paradoxical that the a lot more you invest in a kumade, the even more riches you are said to get. I will take a tiny 1000 rake and also keep my cash, thanks. Every time a kumade is sold, a ritual of hand slapping referred to as tejime isperformed by the stallholder, as well as nearly every person else around. After going through a significant market of stores all selling the same point, I no longer really feel as though I am inside the grounds of a shrine. It feels like I am shed in a city of market delays that stretch definitely and also forever.
Pulled along by awave of shuffling groups, my route is decided for me, and also I somehow wind up at the front of the primary temple. I include a 100 coin (even more cost), ring among the big bells, bow twice, slap two times, bow once again, before praying, for nothing whatsoever. After praying I am pushed out of the temple toward among the side leaves. Individuals leave delighted with their now honored kumade, the only thing left for them to do is bring their enormous rakes residence.
The shrine departures into yet an additional market.
The market scents unbelievable as well as is primarily stalls offering foods and also beverages. For the third time today I am advised of Christmas. I wander as much as one delay marketing decorated bananas. Once more rules dictates that I have to acquire a souvenir, as well as I angle consider a far better gift than a delicious chocolate covered banana. After handing over300 to the stallholder, he makes a fist with his hand. One, 2, 3, rock, he claims. I hold up my hand level. Ah, paper, you win! Great, for the second time today I win a banana.
Next, a stall selling something that emits the best smell I have actually ever before experienced. I need to queue a while, possibly fifteen minutes, all the while drooling as I enjoy more and more of the tasty looking warm cakes bakedbefore my eyes.
Ultimately, I reach the front of the queue. I excitedly turn over 300 as well as purchase a bag of twelve delicious hot kasutera. This sponge cake is made from milk, honey, eggs, sugar, and flour, and also is now my favorite snack. I will concern Tori-no-Ichi sequel, otherwise simply to get even more of this fascinating treat.
I head to a shop marketing yakisoba; a kind of Japanese fried noodle served with veggies. The stallholder below states that since my eyes are the bluest he has ever before seen, he will certainly give me an unique, bigger offering. I sit on a bench and devour my yakisoba, surrounded by the views as well as gives off this huge market.
On my means residence I proceed my walk through the stalls and also see a store selling 400 baked potatoes. Still slightly starving, I decide to make one final stop. It turns out the stallholder heredoesnt know just how to bargain. I request one potato, but he claims that I can have four for300 rather. A discount rate of 25% for four times the potato I requested. I cant say with his wild reasoning.
With my free banana, totally free potatoes, and an empty bag of kasutera, I understand that for me, theprosperity promised by this celebration has actually instantaneously begun topay off.