Published: April 16th 2009April 16th 2009
Nagasaki Lantern Festival NOTICE: Due to a server side error, my photos were lost for several days. I've re-posted them finally... sorry about the delay!!
Two months ago I went to the Nagasaki lantern Festival. I am just writing about it now in part due to some computer issues... but in reality it was sheer procrastination. I have been feeling rather lazy these past few months and many things (not just my blog) had been left to whither away in the sun. Now, however, I am proud to say that I'm all caught up with everything now that this travelblog is finished. Ok, on to the festival!
I found a cheap bus to Nagasaki that also included a side trip to Nagasaki Peace Park and ground zero. I decided not to include pictures of these events because 1) I already had way to many pictures of the festival and 2) It is a little depressing to think about those events. Not to worry! I plan on doing a hodgepodge of pictures of both Korea and Japan later and I will include the park at that time. As for the trip it went as well as to be expected of
a long bus ride. However! As a fun feature the "tour guide" of the trip played a little game of rock, paper, scissors with everyone on the bus. We all held our hands up and tried to beat him. After about 3 minutes of playing I was shocked to find out that it came down to 4 people... one of which was ME! The final round decided the winner and I walked away being the proud owner of a Japanese castella cake. I ate it later on with friends. It was delicious!
So after that riveting bus ride I arrived in Nagasaki. It was the last day of the festival and a weekend. This meant that it was packed with people. The festival is of Chinese origin and its purpose is to usher in the New Year (Lunar). There were literally lanterns everywhere! Even on the side and backstreets. The lanterns themselves are comprised of either cloth or paper. All of the "complex" lanterns that I saw were made up of cloth. The paper lanterns were usually just the familiar round variety. I arrived early so I could try to see everything. The festival encompassed the entire city so
seeing everything proved to be quite the task!
On a side note, the pictures in this blog are arranged in the same manner of my experiences. Meaning that the first picture is the start of the day and the last picture was taken at night before I had to go back to the bus. It is probably best to view them as a slide show. For those of you (mom I'm looking directly at you...) who don't know how to do that... follow these steps:
1) Click on a picture and A new window will open up.
2) In the upper right hand corner of the new window will be a link that say "Slide Show."
Click that link.
3) A new window should open up of the slide show. You can fast forward using the ">>"
key at the bottom. Enjoy!
I started my little adventure in the main area. This is where musicians and performers had their stage set up. It was a square of seats surrounded by food stalls. It was an amazing sight to behold. The steam of the buns and rice from the food stalls, in conjunction with the vivid colors of
the lanterns, created a very festive mood! The lanterns were not lit during the day, but it really didn't detract from their beauty. They were magnificently done and I can only imagine how long it must have taken someone to make them. The sizes of the lanterns varied greatly. Some were only the size of your fist while others (like the picture below of the big dragon in the middle of two big lanterns) were the size of cars. The variety was outstanding. There was no possible way that I could take pictures of them all, but man did I try! This is the biggest picture blog I have posted to date. I had 130 photos and decided that 90 photos should be my limit... for ANY blog! So I narrowed it down to these. I really hope you all enjoy them! I think that they speak for themselves, but later I will try and add more comments to them, so please check back!
In conclusion, it is safe to say that I absolutely loved this festival. I think that the main highlights for me were the food, the feast (yes those were real pig heads on the table)
and the dancing dragon! There was just so much to see and eat there. By the end of the day it was so crowded that you literally could not move. At one point, I got stuck in the crowd while attempting to get some food from a stall. I was there for a good 15 minutes until I finally got the nerve to just push through the people (something I hate doing!). Needless to say I ended up crashing hard when I got back... but it was worth it. I hope that this blog finds all of my friends and family healthy and happy. Please know that I miss you all very much and I look forward to seeing you soon. I will be back in Seattle next month, so make sure you to drop me an email so we can arrange a time to meet up!
There are more photos below