Saturday, August 13, 2005

Matsuri Season ・ 祭りのシーズン

I wrote about Inakadate's Neputa festival a little bit in my very first posting, but festival season in Tohoku is such an important time that it is worth covering again. During August, especially early August, the Tohoku area comes alive with lights, sounds and actions not to be seen the rest of the year. They certainly are a sight worth seeing.

This year I have been to five festivals. On August 2, 3, and 4, I participated in the Inkadate Neputa festival. On the 5th, I went to Aomori-city and participated inthe Nebuta festival there. On the 6th, I was in Goshogawara and although it was the day, I visited the Nebutakan and saw the floats. That evening, I went with my wife and friend to see the Neputa festival in Hirosaki. Finally, on the 7th, I went to Kosaka-machi in Akita and participated in the Tanabata festival. It was a very busy week.
今年、僕は5つの祭りを観覧し、また参加することができました。8月2、3、4日に田舎館のねぷたま つりに参加しました。5日に青森市に行って、ねぶた祭りに参加しました。6日に五所川原にいたので、日中でありながら、外に出している立佞武多の山車や佞 武多館 を見ることができました。その晩、家内と友だちと弘前のねぷたを見に行きました。そして最後に、7日に秋田県の小坂町の七夕祭りに参加しました。大変忙し い一週間でした。

Festivals like the Nebuta festival in Aomori and the Kanto festival in Akita have become national events which bring millions of tourists to the area. I don't think that that is a bad thing, but certainly that isn't the reason for having a festival. Rather I think that festivals are important because they bring people together. They are a time where people can meet and get to know each other.
青森のねぶたや秋田の竿灯まつりは何百万人の観光客を呼ぶ全国的なイベントになっています。それは悪いことではないですが、 それが祭りを開く理由にはならないと思います。かえって、祭りのよさとは、人を一緒にすることです。人が互いに会って、知り合う場として祭りがいいです。

That is the reason that I most enjoyed the festivals in Inakadate and Kosaka. There I was able to fully participate in the festival, but more importantly I was able to meet and talk to many people. Most of the time there is plenty of time at these festivals to sit, eat, drink and communicate with neighbors and friends.

Long ago, almost all of these festivals originated in prayers for a bountiful harvest. Now however, with few people directly dependent on agriculture, the festivals continue. I think that is probably because festivals play in important part in community building. In both the festivals I really enjoyed, in Inakadate and in Kosaka, I was able to help with the preparations for the festival. These preparations sometimes take a month or more. As community members (who unfortunately seem to be mainly men) come together to help get ready for the festival, they communicate and build a community.
祭りというのは、豊作を願う祈り に基づいているそうです。しかし、農業に頼って生活している人がかなり減った今でも、祭りは続いています。それは、祭りがコミュニティづくりに大事な役 割を果たしているからだと思います。今年、本当に楽しめた田舎館と小坂の祭りでは祭りの準備にも少し手伝うことができました。この準備は1〜2ヶ月間がか かりますが、この間そのコミュニティのメンバー(残念ながら、手伝う人のほとんどが男性のようですが)はひんぱんに会って、コミュニケーションを取って、 コミュ ニティを作っているようです。
I was very happy to be able to participate in the Inakadate festival and its preparations. I felt like one of the community.

Hello there! I just wanted to say hi! I am Emma Kumakura, the very first CIR in Inakadate (2001-2004). I think it is a fabulous idea to put a blog up! Fantastic. So you were a CIR in Akita? Do you know Erin Erickson?

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