Published: April 24th 2006April 23rd 2006
"Sakura" are cherry blossoms. And now that they have bloomed, it's really spring. On Saturday I went to Ishinomaki to meet up with some other gaijin and take part in what is called "Hanami." Literally, this means "flower" (hana) and "see" (mi). My idea of the meaning of hanami was seriously walking around and checking out the flowers. And that sounded fun. But then, we arrived at this place with tons of cherry trees and also tons of tarps laid out on the ground with tons of groups of Japanese people sitting on them. These people were not walking around checking out the beautiful flowers, or even taking pictures--they were drunk! So now I know what Hanami really means, which is, sitting under the blossoms with friends and family eating and getting hammered. Some of these families and groups of young people had been there (on their tarp) since 9 that morning! We arrived around 5. Anyways, it was a lovely evening.
On Sunday, Wakuya hosted their annual horse-race festival. It wasnt as exciting as hanami but it was cool to see horses (and not cool to see them be beat by these Japanese men). Apparently, less and less people
One week ago...
not ready yet...
come to the event because of how they treat the horses. These horses pull huge harvesting carts that have a ton of cement bricks in them and then Japanese men whip them and whack them with prods all the way to the finish line. There's no betting, winning, or prizes. And once again, as I looked out into the madness, I said, "I don't get it."
We left after the first race (not sure how many races there were) and went to a sweet "Furi ma" across the river. On all the signs for this "Furi ma" we realized that they had forgotten to put the "ke to" at the end of "Furi ma" (completing the J-style phrase, "Furi maketo," Flea Market). Maybe it was on purpose. But there were some awesome deals on Japanese stuff and I found an adorable Doraimon stuffed doll. Doraimon is the most famous cartoon character in Japan (and much of the world) because it's the oldest still-running cartoon EVER. Sweet. It's super cute and it was only 100Yen. We also watched some incredible taiko drumming and Japanese dancing.
Enjoy the pics!
There are more photos below