Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Nagasaki "Rantan Festibalu"...or "Lantern Festival" to you and me!!

Sunday was the final day of a two-week festival to celebrate the Chinese New Year here in Nagasaki. It has become a very large event and one that the 'powers that be' of the city are, I'm sure, grateful for as it brings in tons of people from all over, spending lots and lots of yen all over town!!
2007 is the "year of the pig", so there were pigs of many shapes and sizes throughout the area. We went on Friday night and the park we went to was completely packed...lots of entertainment (Chinese acrobats, dances, drumming, etc...), good food....the streets and other venues were just as crammed full of people....It was pretty fun!!
The boys and I agreed that the real pig heads in different places around the festival were a bit disturbing (that was my word...Issei's was just "yuck...where's the bodies??").
It is amazing how many lanterns--- tiny, small, big and some absolutely HUGE--- there were...got to be a bit too much!! In my classes, I like to take the time to explain what the word "gaudy" means....very fitting at times like this, sometimes!!
This picture was taken looking up one the main roads into the park in China Town. Everywhere you look are red lanterns and people!! At one point, I felt as if we were the only ones going in that direction and everyone else was going the opposite way!!!










This picture is for our friend Rachel.
Back in 2000 when Rachel was here working at one of the high schools, she joined an Okinawa taiko group and made her "debut" during the Lantern Festival that year. While she was here, Issei and I went to most of her performances and have such fond memories of that time. She worked so hard and spent so many hours practicing.....and had the rock-hard butt to prove it!! *smile* (Take my word for it....it was amazing!!) Anyway....in this kind of drumming, the drummer carries the drum while dancing and moving about in the performance area. Okinawa music is quite unique and different from the music elsewhere....so much, that it is very easy to distinguish it from regular Japanese music. This form of taiko ("drumming") is very energetic and personally, one of my favorites.




Kiyoshi tried to take a picture of the group's performance while we were there on Friday night. It's a bit far away, but....that's okay...I think that if Rachel sees this, she'll know what's going on!!
I have to admit....while we were watching...I got a bit choked up. Rachel is just another great friend that has moved on (she and her husband, Ben, live in New York). Being there...outside, watching the group perform made me really miss her....and then I smiled....gotta love those memories!!



We took a "temple tour" in the old Chinese settlement. There are four temples and we bought candles to put in each one as we prayed to the gods.
Issei kept praying for a DS....I told him he should pray for other things too!!!

All in all....it was a great night to spend as a family.

I hope you all had a good weekend....it was positively spring-like here and we enjoyed being outside under the stars and an incredible full moon.
(I refrained from doing our "moondance" that we usually do under a full moon until we got home....just another silly family tradition!! "What a wonderful night for a moondance..."!!)

2 comments:

Paida said...

Rachel!

I will have to let her know she made the blog!

caroline said...

What beautiful pictures!