Thursday, May 6, 2010

Hamamatsu Kite Festival

This weekend was the Hamamatsu Kite Festival. Many of the locals dress up in happi (pictured at left) and head out to the sand dunes near the water to fly 3 meter x 3 meter sized kites for their newborn children. The festival is during Golden Week every year and the last day of the week (Wednesday) celebrates Children's day. Nicole and I didn't really plan on it, but ended up spending our entire Golden Week together from Friday until Wednesday. The chosen day for Hamamatsu (about 2 hours by car, 3 hours with traffic) Kite Festival was on Tuesday. We had a leisurely morning before heading out to the dunes from her house in Iwata (about 30 minutes away). We met a bunch more ALTs there, ones that I don't see so often since I live pretty far away. It was nice to catch up, especially with those who had done the Trailwalker. Seems we have a special kinship now. We know each other's pain :)

We enjoyed the festival food and watched the kites in the fabulous sunny weather that we were blessed with all vacation. Here are a few photos with descriptions:

A random team asked us to take a picture for them, and then wanted one with us too! I think their kite had already come down for the week.

There was tons of festival food per usual -- lots of food on a stick. Which coincidentally in Japan is always a chopstick :) Corndogs, bananas and more all on a chopstick. Chocolate covered bananas are my fave festival food. I'll miss them!! Thankfully, they are easy to make on your own!

These are the huge kites. They take a big group of people and meters and meters of rope to keep in the air. I don't really know the art of kite flying, but it was still cool.

Nicole and I posing in front of one of the big kites.

Each group has their own little band walking around playing tunes and multiple people to maneuver the kite. The kites sort of battle -- the goal is to the be the last one in the sky. If your kite falls to the ground, you're done. So the goal is to not get tangled with other kites.

Here's some kites up in the sky. There were hundreds.

Some of the Kakegawa/Shizuoka area JETs we met up with.

I'll post more pictures in a Golden Week album on Flickr soon!!! It finally feels like spring/summer here. Frankly it seems like we jumped from winter to summer as the temps went from being in the 40s and 50s to being in the 70s in just a few days. It's been welcome for me however. Biking is so much nicer without the rain! I hope you're getting in some sunshine at home!

1 comment:

Ahles Family said...

this is like in Afghanistan! I read about it. How neat. PS, you can get choc covered bananas around here, too :)