Hamamatsu Festival in Shizoka ! by Joseph

Hello everyone!
How was your Golden Week?

Over the holiday, I participated in the Hamamatsu Festival in Shizoka; a three day celebration to honor children born recently to local families. The festival is several hundred years old and draws large crowds every year. It features two distinct festival events daily, kite flying near the beach and raucous parades throughout the city.  Both events represent a deep appreciation for the challenges of life and the splendid treasures it holds.






During the day, hundreds of proud mothers and fathers exalt their bundle of joy by flying a 3.5 by 3.5 meter kite bearing the child's name and their township's colorful insignia.  It’s a highly orchestrated effort, requiring a large team of skilled kite-fliers and support crew, to successfully honor the child’s kite in any weather condition.  On the final day, neighborhoods battle to knock each others kites out of the sky with both skilled maneuvers and brute force alike.  It's very competitive with each neighborhood vying to have their kite soaring high above all others as the battle comes to a close.






At night in each of the 174 neighborhoods, several hundred residents march in a parade through their district; visiting those households who are celebrating a new addition to the family.  Drummers and buglers lead the “Yaisho” shouting parade through the town streets late into the night.  When arriving in front of the families' home, the revelers crowd together (something like the Yamanote line at rush hour) and begin to vigorously dance; jumping and throwing fists skyward.  The marching well-wishers  are then graciously rewarded with a bounty of food and copious amounts of beer and Nihon Shu by the celebrated family.





The Hamamatsu community truly embraces a wonderful festival tradition. They meticulously plan the event and eagerly await it’s Golden Week arrival each year – and so do I.  It is one of the most fun things that I’ve ever had the luck of participating in; the exuberant celebration of new life.











See you at 'b', yaisho!
またb で会おうね! 「やいしょ」 




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