MITAMA MATSURI

Tokyo 2005

This is the  Mitama Matsuri festival at Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo.  I was a college student studying in Tokyo when our class made a visit to the the shrine.  Of course we delved into the controversy of  the Shrine itself, and the first half of our visit was a exploration into history and the way different people view it. But I cannot deny how much fun the festival was afterward.  Over 30,000 lanterns covered the grounds and the atmosphere  was like a carnival with those touches of traditional Japan (such as the dancers and Taiko drummers above). And the food was amazing! Our teachers talked up Japanese festival food to us since the first day of class  and it really didn’t disappoint. The night ended with a parade (well, no, it actually ended with me body -surfing on a subway, but that was a little later). During the parade, the dancers pulled the crowd into the melee and before long my classmates were making delirious fools of themselves. They danced side by side with the other party goers of Tokyo, all trying to forget the rifts created by the shrine just across the way…

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