You might remember my post on the Three Bauties of Yoshiwara from last year: some exceptionally photogenic and devoted festival participants from the Yoshiwara Gion festival in Shizuoka prefecture’s Fuji City. Well, this year’s festival there were even more of them, and as energetic as ever! All of the dashi (mobile festival wagons or platforms) are wonderfully decked out and crewed by the most energetic members of their respective neighborhoods, but the dashi of the Rokkenchou (六軒町) neighborhood is just outstanding! It’s not all thanks to the beauties though, behind and below them there is a whole battery of drummers and flutists, not to mention the guy on the roof helping to navigate the wagon, or the men, women and kids in front that pulls it and help making sure that no stray tourists (or photographers) fall under the heavy wheels of the wagon! With young people like this, the future of Fuji City is looking bright indeed!
Last year was the 400th anniversary of the completion of the castle of Matsue City in Shimane prefecture and the whole prefecture put on a huge effort to attract tourism and visitors. Despite all the things going on in north eastern Japan at the time they really did great and I took full advantage of being the complete tourist for my two day trip to the city. This being Japan, Matsue did the rather clever thing of putting up an idol group just to promote the city during 2011, the Matsue Maihimetai, which roughly translates as the Dancing Castle Maidens of Maihime (or at least that’s what I would call them if someone had asked me to give them an English stage name!). At their official site you can download one of their songs and learn the lyrics to some others. Here’s a rather simple video online showing their performance in front of the gorgeous Matsue Castle, and also singing about it.
No matter how famous they became or how much they helped to put Matsue on the tourist map during their short time on stage, I think that it’s a great use of a city’s marketing budget, especially as they sent them out on a summer tour across the country. Local talent promoting their own city and showing that it’s not only Tokyo that can do idol groups!
The photos I took of their very sunny midday performance at a stage below Matsue Castle aren’t very good at all, since I had to use my longest lens for the day, a 70-300mm Sigma that is absolutely not built for these situations. But one uses what one’s got, right?
On the second Saturday and Sunday of ever June there is a large festival in town of Yoshiwara (吉原), part of Fuji City, just to the south of Mount Fuji and very near the Pacific Ocean. The festival is called Yoshiwara Gionsai (吉原祇園際) and is one of the fun Shizuoka style festivals. To start with, here’s three exceptionally lively and very fun beauties belonging to the Rokkencho-neighborhood (六軒町), effectively winning the hearts of all the young men in the city with their performance from one of the many dashi that represents all the neighborhoods of the town. The Rokkencho beauties were definitely the belles of the ball this year’s festival, but in this lovely photo from 1935 they young men and women of Rokkencho look a little bit more cautious. Oh to have been alive to see this festival both in 1935 and 2012! More about Yoshiwara and the festival to come!
I took this snapshot of four beautiful women in different kinds of traditional Japanese patterned kimono, enjoying a break while chatting and drinking Starbucks coffee. I really think Starbucks could use an image like this for their advertising in Japan, don’t you? I love the smile on her face! Taken with my lovely 135mm DC Nikon lens at the Nihonbashi festival in October.