Well, after months and months of anticipation, finally I was smitten with the glory that is the Shionoe Firefly Festival. This festival is one of two significant events that we have in my town, and of course is well attended by the locals and their kids. I was really looking forward to the event for both of those reasons, and of course the taiko performance I had detailed earlier. I just made it in time for the other festival in August when I arrived last summer, but this time around I was less a stranger and much more well know to all my kids. For the event, I invited all my friends out as well, and we took it in together. A few of them arrived in time to watch my taiko performance, and the rest just sort of filtered in throughout the night.
The festival offerings were a bit lean and could be done in an hour for sure, but there was a main stage that cycled through performances, a tent loaded with fireflies, and the usual offerings of festival food to keep us happy. Following my taiko debut, I spent some time with my teammates for a bit before joining up with the rest of the foreigner contingent. Together we went through the firefly tent. Inside there were a ton of them, looking a lot like Christmas lights. I always grew up with fireflies around me, so they never seemed too special. But, I was actually surprised to hear how many people had never seen them before. I guess it explains why this festival is worth having.
Here is where the festival is held, adjacent to the river so that they can be seen. Once night fell, people were all scouting for the dots of light along the riverbank. This place seems sort of otherworldly, as if out of a movie. All the elements in this shot are just so different from where I come from, so it will always be captivating to me.
Given the concentration of my students, I was the most popular attendee, I’m sure, and I was plenty happy to ‘work’ on this day off. Since my job is largely making kids happy, this really was just a more casual day of work to me. A common want from the kids is to be lifted in the air, or to hang off my arms. Picture of me being awesome below.
As I said, there were a number of shows at the stage. A Power Rangers-esq battle, BINGO, a magic show, and also Yosakoi dancing which originated in the next prefecture over. I’m not exactly sure what makes it unique, but I know it utilizes some wooden clapper thing, also used by the girls in their Sports Day dance. It looked pretty good, but also happened to be when we wanted to get out out of there, to beat the traffic.
With the official business out of the way, it was time to head back to my apartment for the after party. This was of course good fun, but also had me enjoying my circle of friend and the multicultural nature of the group. Represented was England, America, Thailand, Japan, and China. Unfortunately, Canada and Ireland couldn’t make it. Its just fun to have so many different people and cultures come together to talk and share space. As the night progressed, we found ourselves out swimming in the frigid river in the wee hours of the night. Memories of course.
Bonus snap for my mom