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Hyakumangoku Festival Day 2

Day two of the Hyakumangoku Festival! The main event: the parade! I confess in my human fallibility I forgot to charge my camera, so these photos were taken with my iPhone on which the camera is of questionable quality.

Finally got to sleep in for once! After a leisurely breakfast and finishing up Haruki Murakami's 1Q84 (which I HIGHLY recommend. Weird, but fascinating) my host family and I set off in their car for the Korinbo area to watch the parade. Korinbo is a large shopping and bar district, with popular malls, coffee shops, and restaurants. However, today the street was closed off and people were lining the sides to watch the upcoming festivities. The parade began from Kanazawa Station and progressed through the streets until it reached Kanazawa Castle, where the actor playing Toshiie Maeda symbolically enters the castle. (The parade is called the Hyakumangoku Gyoretsu.)

The parade began with school bands and baton troupes, like any parade usually has:

Then the parade turned more cultural/ historic. There were several groups of people doing the Shishi-mai (Lion Dance). If they run up to you and have the lion's head "bite" you, good things are supposed to happen to you.

Then there were old firefighter teams. They supported large bamboo ladders while one man went up and performed tricks on the top. I wish I had their core strength!!

For the record, this parade went on for about two and a half hours. Toshiie Maeda and his wife/family came last of course, but they followed after groups of samurai, and then shrine attendants, personal attendants etc etc...

Finally the royalty arrived!

They always pick a handsome actor to play Toshiie Maeda, so all the women cheered when he showed up.

After the parade we grabbed some street food (I got fried satsumaimo--Japanese sweet potatoes--that were then rolled in sugar, taiyaki--fried dough with fillings that's shaped like a fish--and takoyaki--friend dough with octopus. Soooo tasty!
And tomorrow is my relaxing/studying day before my first test on Tuesday. What joy.


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Hi guys, long time no see. Haven't had much time to write, recently, but I have a slew of (hopefully) new material to show you guys. 
Two weeks ago my family came to visit for my brother's spring break, and I had planned a (pretty epic, if I may say so myself) cross-Japan trip for them. Over the course of 10 days we were going to visit Hiroshima, Miyajima, Himeji, Kanazawa, and Tokyo. After the fam arrived, we took the bullet train all the way over to Hiroshima (a 5 hour affair) and then worked our way back east towards Tokyo.
Our first stop, Hiroshima, dawned bright and warm. We started the morning at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, which is at one end of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park
The museum is, in a word, heavy. It's one of those museums where you feel like you should read every single bit of text and look at every photo and bear witness, albeit 70 years later, to the utter horrors that the atomic bomb wrecked on this city. 
As I walked through the exhibits, …