Matsuri 祭 is the Japanese word for 'festival'. In the summer, Japan becomes so lively and colorful, and tons of local festivals take place all over the country. Everyone comes out, usually dressed in the traditional wear, to enjoy the sights and foods. Festival fare usually resemble yakisoba noodles, yakitori (skewered chicken), takoyaki (octopus ball-shaped batter), shaved ice with syrup, and lots and lots of beer and sake.
Today I attended a local festival in a nearby town, Sakaide. It was quite impressive: troops of men were lifting those heavy structures, on which people danced and chanted. It was beautiful and confusing all at once, and it went on until dusk.
Festivals are also fun for just walking around and watching people. And being watched. As foreigners, we attract so much attention, which can be both pleasant and unpleasant. I do love when school kids come up to say hello, or when people offer us free foods and drinks.
A Sunday night matsuri was the perfect way to end the weekend... a relaxing weekend freshened up by rain showers, and late summer nights spent sitting by the ocean.