But I think this blog could use some non-concert-related content. So let's talk about the Kiryu Matsuri (Festival)! As I've mentioned I live pretty close to Kiryu City. Going to the festival was one of the first Kiryu things I did. It was pretty cool, so I took a lot of pictures. Let's take a look!
This is a big... lantern-y thing. It had people standing on the balcony playing various traditional Japanese drums and flutes and stuff:
As you can see, this was a pretty big event. The main roads through Kiryu were all blocked off and taken over by the festival, so this thing took hours to get through.
They had entire streets converted into food stands (had to start brightening some of these pictures):
OM NOM NOM, food:
Let's start taking food pictures! These were bags of juice. The different colors were different fruit flavors (except blue, which was Ramune-flavored):
I bought the pink one, which was peach flavored! Also, this weird ice cream was being advertised by a large penguin, lol:
There were also people dancing to the music. Kiryu has its own "song" called the Yagibushi, and that's what they were playing all up and down the streets. It has its own dance and everything. This particular group of people dancing was actually quite small compared to some of the other dance circles going on, but we'll get to those later. Besides, this one had little kids in it, which is pretty cute (for the record, anyone can join the dancing. Literally anyone).
The music performers (who have to play the same tune continuously for two days straight, lol):
And yes, I found pikachu cakes (castellas, a type of sponge cake, to be specific):
Okay, these next few pictures I took early the next day (the festival is two days long), so they get bright alluva sudden, lol. These are the big decorations that were hard to see in the previous pictures:
More food! I bought grilled scallops and clams on a stick and they were soooooo good!
Okay, this was a very interesting dessert. It's basically ice cream pumped up with air, and the result is this airy, wispy ice cream that almost disintegrates in your mouth. But it was really good. I got the green tea flavored one:
We also had the happy Japanese tradition of a bunch of guys running down a street with a massive, movable shrine as fast as possible, practically running people over:
And the crowds began to increase as the festival geared up for Day 2:
OH GAWD, THEY'RE COMING, RUUUUUN!
I bought myself an extraordinarily phallic chocolate-covered banana. Or a sprinkled dildo, if you prefer:
This next food is a Kiryu specialty. I forget what it's called, but it's like dough filled with cabbage and pork and stuff, and it's fried and covered in a barbecue-like sauce. I don't like this dish personally (I think I just hate the sauce, lol), but a lot of people really love it:
Next up, we have kebabs! There are many Turkish people living in Kiryu who like to sell kebabs during the festival. I was reluctant to try one (I'm not a big fan of meat, especially saucy meat), but it wound up being super delicious (so much so that I think I had another one later, lol).
I remember the vendor said, "you are my sunshine" to me. Uuuuuh.... thanks....?
Now here's something interesting. Near the festival was a dance competition for all ages. I managed to snag some pictures of a few of the dance groups that performed (all of them from local dance classes, I believe).
Okay, confession: I'm friends with several of the dancers in this next picture, lol. That's why I was there!
Back over at the festival, shit was gettin' reeeeeeeeal:
All those people you see above were dancing. Massive, street-wide dance circles were forming and people were going crazy. My friends and I got roped into it and had to do it too, and the random Japanese people around us were more than happy to show the dumb foreigners how to Yagibushi. But some people were just crazy-dancing because it was late and they were sugar-high and drunk, lol. Some girls were suddenly only wearing bras and stuff. Oops...
Not wanting to let the party slow down, my friends and I went to a bar nearby, where they were giving out free tequila shots through an ice sculpture. I hate tequila, but I'm never one to turn down free booze, so I did one. Fuck yeah!
And that's about all I've got for pictures of the Yagibushi Festival! I didn't manage to snag photos of everything (like the epic amounts of kara-age (fried chicken) I ate, or some of the more insane dancing), but I think that should about sum the festival up! The Yagibushi Matsuri is definitely a blast, and I'm really looking forward to going back next summer for another two-day adventure!
I have more pictures that I've recently uncovered, so more pic-spamming will ensue! See ya later!