The big summer holiday in Japan is called Obon. It’s originally a buddist festival that goes back 500 years. Each town celebrates it a little differently, but there’s usually some folk dancing, music, and food. For the hardworking salarymen of Japan, obon may be one of the only weeks in the year where they get a few days off to spend with their family.
In our very lovely town of Gujo Hachiman, Obon is a really big deal. The Bon Odori, or bon festival, lasts weeks, with dancing at the end of every day. The final three days of the odori, we have dancing that lasts until 5 in the morning. The old, narrow streets are lit with lanterns hung from food stalls and live musicians play traditional music. There is even a famous dance called the "Gujo Dance" that is performed all around the world.
We went to the dance the other night and had a great time. I took Kazu home at around midnight, and Noriko stayed. She went back last night and danced until 5AM. I wish I could have seen it. There's always next year.
An vendor an a lantern.
Some dancers take a break to buy drinks at one of the ubiquitous vending machines.
A the narrow streets and music made even a short stroll exciting.
It's hard to see, but above was actually a riverbank lined with restaurants.
The musicians on the stage played and the crowd danced in time.
The musicians beat their drums.
Another night shot.
Kazu, Noriko, and some friends. The smoke was coming off a BBQ right behind me, grilling up strips of famous Hida Beef.