Last weekend I attended the Hyakumangoku Festival, the largest summer festival in Kanazawa. The main street of the city was packed for at least two or three miles, and the parade was a wildly entertaining display. First groups of kids came, some kids dressed hilariously as old men with the shaved pate of Samurai; then drummers, carriages with women in kimono/yukata on top, and large groups of people dressed up as samurai, daimyo, and anything else you can imagine. Here’s a couple quick pictures:
Then we went and snacked and waited for a while for our dance to begin. When the dancing finally started, there were thousands of people dancing, all in different colorful robes, shouting and flinging scarves at points in the song. There are three different dances, which we did for ten minutes each. We did the three dances three times with ten minute breaks in between. It was exhausting but definitely worth it. Afterwards we went to eat street-food from a bustling set of stands that had been erected for the festival day.
I spent all of the next day studying for our first test on Monday, which went poorly but not too poorly. I’m finally adjusted to class, although I was stressed earlier this week. Now I definitely enjoy it more. On Monday afternoon I took a quick trip to a temple.
Cultural activities started in addition to class this week, so I got to play Go and go to a Buddhist philosophy museum. We have a Japanese-only rule for in class/the classroom building and durings cultural activities, but it seems to be getting a little bit easier(???maybe??). The architecture at the museum was stunning.
I’ve been quite busy with all the classwork + activities, but I’m starting to fall into a routine. I was remembering the advice that the Light Fellowship gave us back in the spring, saying that people’s time studying abroad often followed an arc: first there would be a honeymoon period, and then it would become difficult/lonely, and then it would get better. I definitely felt concerned earlier this week, but that was mainly about class. I do consider what my role is in the community here, being such an outsider. It’s something they ask us to think about a lot in my class. What should I give back to the community? Is there even anything I can do?
I’ll keep thinking on it.
Until next week!