The second night of the huge Kurayami Matsuri in Fuchu City, Tokyo, had some very handsome dashi (山車) or festival wagons. These wagons are all fielded by neighborhood organizations and funded by private donations. I once met a group who had just gotten a new one built and they had spent over 30 million yen on it. This one is an unsualy brightly lit one, and it had a special trick up its sleeve, tilting! When a dashi meets another dashi it is customary to “do battle” to see which one will give right of way to the other, and I have never seen a dashi tilt like this before. Even the teenagers playing the traditional music in the front were surprised when it first happened. There are a total of 21 of these taking part in the festival, criss crossing the streets around the shrine for hours. This one belongs to Kotobukicho, a few square blocks of Fuchu City.
I don’t know what to call these dashi, the huge wagons that you’ll see at most bigger festivals, maybe there is a proper term in English? I saw these on the second day of the huge Kurayami matsuri at Fuchu City – the biggest city in Tokyo that you have never visited. Or at least that is how I would describe it to people. The dashi at this festival were staffed my mostly kids and school children. I have never seen so many young people doing the traditional and old fashioned hayashi dancing as in Fuchu City! The future for this festival looks very bright!
In January I went to see one of Japan’s legendary rock bands, the 5, 6, 7, 8′s who became famous in the west after appearing in the movie Kill Bill back in 2003. The director, Quentin Tarantino found them after hearing their songs being played in a Tokyo fashion store, and you can see him talk about it and the bands performance in the movie here. They performed as guest of one of the best Tokyo rock clubs, the Boogie Shack Rhythm & Soul Club, every first Saturday of the month at the fabulous A971 upstairs lounge in Tokyo’s Roppongi district, Tokyo Midtown. So if you are free tonight you know where to go!
The start of the Awaodori festival season is still many months away but it’s never too early to start promoting some of the many teams that will brighten our festivals in the summer to come! Here’s a mix of beauties of different ages from three different dance teams, the Daikonren, the Koseinenkinbyouinren and the famous Tokyo Tensuiren.