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Hyakumangoku Festival Day 1

This weekend in Kanazawa is the Hyakumangoku Festival! It celebrates the arrival of Toshiie Maeda into the city with three days of cultural events, parades, dances, and the like. Today was the "kaga yuzen tohro-nagashi" or floating lanterns. From 7-9 at night, lanterns were floated down the Asanogawa River. I went with my host mother, and though it started drizzling it soon cleared up.

Some of the lanterns had pictures on them, like flowers or animals. Otherwise they said things like "lets go Japan!". There were people standing in the center of the river at various intervals (it's not that deep) to push the lanterns that get stuck on the rocks back to the moving waters. Fun fact: the prefecture I'm in, Ishikawa, means "rocky river" and the two rivers that wind their way through Kanazawa live up to that description. In places you can just walk on the rocks to the center of the river, which many people were doing here to take pictures and get a better view. Fun fact number two: Kanazawa means "gold river" and gilding is a traditional art here in the city.

There was a tour de force of families with small children, young couples on dates, women and men wearing yukata (summer kimono, often worn at festivals). There was an enka singer (enka is traditional Japanese music, usually about love or flowers or something like that) who sang for a while. Oddly enough I really enjoy that style of music, I find it very soothing. It really set the mood for watching the lights make their way down the waters...

Tomorrow is Hyakumangoku Festival Day 2: parades!


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