If you are in Tokyo today I can recommend a visit to the huge Sensoji temple in Asakusa to see the rather unique and beautiful white egret dancers – Shirasaginomai (白鷺の舞). Local children together with musicians and performers from the large Yasaka shrine in Kyoto perform in the ceremony that was only revived in 1968 using an old scroll from 1652 as basis for the dance itself.
The second batch of cosplaying athletes from this year’s Tokyo Marathon. I really enjoyed spotting all of these fantastic athletes, but to be honest there was one guy in particular I was looking for, and that is the by now pretty famous Mr. Lullaby (ララバイさん) who dressed as Jesus, complete with a cross, runs the entire marathon bare foot! Compared to better equipped runners, his finishing time of 05:24 might not be very spectacular, but considering he is an amateur athlete without shoes it is pretty amazing. After the race he ran off to head a gig in Ikebukuro, as he is the singer of the band “The Chambers” (ザ・チャンバーズ). If you missed the post race gig you get a second chance on the 28th of this month when the band performs at a small festival gig in Shinjuku. In 2013 he even participated in the New York Marathon, in costume of course. The band’s twitter feed is full of fun photos of this guy right now.
There were plenty more of fun runners, like the zombie man with a meat cleaver in his head and a fork in his shoulder, or the man dressed up as Mount Fuji, or the many Super Marios. The list goes on!
Tokyo Marathon would not be the same without all the costumed runners, and this year’s race was no exception. I saw so many that I lost count, but here are about half of the ones that I managed to catch in my finder. There were a few good ones that I missed as they ran in the middle of the stream of people. I would admire anyone who walks 42km let alone tries to run them, and even more so doing it in costume!
Where I was stood at about 4km into the race, the first runner in costume to pass us was the man dressed as a daikon in the second photo (I saw a couple of daikons, three or four nasu (eggplant) a couple of strawberries, a pod of peas and a couple of bananas. Not quite enough for a meal but it was good to see that almost a dozen fruit and vegetable runners for each hamburger (there was one!). Then there was a rather fast Gundam runner (fifth photo) as well as a small group of Where’s Wally? (I saw one more later on). Despite Kumamon being the most popular character in Japan right now I saw only one (seventh photo) but several Snow Whites (both male and female, eight photo). Superheroes were also represented, with at least two Batmans for every Superman, and three or four spidermen for every Captain America. But out of my four favorites this time, here are two of them (two final photos), a man in a business suit complete with glasses and a briefcase, and a man running as a red postbox. Fantastic! I’ll post the others later, just hang in there!
I still haven’t shared 1% of the photos I took of the twice (or thrice actually) annual Sagimai dance ritual in Asakusa’s Sensoji temple earlier this year. As part of one of their three performances during the day (naturally I saw all three of them) they perform a procession as they retire back to the temple that is their base during the day. In this procession they are guided by local participants that acts other roles of the mythical reenactment. Someday I would love to see them perform or train in their home shrine, the famous Yasaka Shrine in Kyoto, one of my favorite shrines in the world.