I met Ryann at my place this morning so we could check out Hachimangu shrine and see the horseback archery (which is tomorrow while we’re working, dammit!). I pointed out the huge bell that I had attempted unsuccessfully to ring weeks ago during my first visit to the shrine, and told her I wanted to give it another shot. She filmed me, fully expecting another spectacular failure, and instead it produced a huge sound that even the noise of the festival couldn’t cover up. So that same bell got to embarrass me twice.
We wandered down the road, bought bras, and were headed to Odori when suddenly, on the bridge over the Nakatsu, we ran into one of the men who befriended me yesterday. We shook hands and smiled, and he beckoned us to come with him, stating beer as the main activity of choice. We drank and ate grilled squid (popoyaki) which is my new favorite thing. So good! Ryann and I then separated and decided to regroup at 6pm to see the parade’s main procession just west of the Nakatsu River.
On my way home I was snapping photos of the local fire station (their logo is an interlocking circle and square, which looks really odd and not at all Japanese, in my mind). All the fire stations nearby have little towers, which harkens back to being able to see where the fire was. As I was taking photos, a man came out and indicated me to follow him toward the station. He recognized me, and after a few moments, I recognized him, too: it was the father who took a photo with his son and that monk at Daijiji Temple (and then insisted that I, too, take a photo with the monk) ages ago! He brought his daughter out, who was totally decked out in one of the flashiest outfits I’ve ever seen: she was one of the priestesses (?) at the front of the procession for the parade! She mugged for me as I took a few photos. What a cutie, and her father was so kind to recognize me and call me over.
People are different during a festival, everyone is friendlier, more outgoing. During the day everyone is so reserved, then they drink after work and get loud and full of laughter, then a festival happens, and everyone seems happy and weightless, and ready to make a new friend at the drop of a hat. I’ve encountered such kindness during the festival.