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Aomori Nebuta Festival

JAPAN | Thursday, 7 August 2014 | Views [291]

Aomori Nebuta float

Aomori Nebuta float

The Chinese-inspired Aomori Nebuta festival, in the North of Honshu, is an incredible spectacle. Several parades take place, each made up of giant floats; bands of drummers, flautists and hand cymbalists; and groups of dancers accompanied by "jokers" - people dressed in funny costumes whose job it is to make people laugh with their antics. It is very competitive as the teams (which seemed to come from big Japanese companies such as Toshiba) try to outdo each other to win the prizes.

The giant floats are awesome to see. Japanese paper is attached to a wooden skeleton, inked and painted to create colourful 3 dimensional scenes depicting famous historic people, samurai, birds and beasts. The floats are illuminated from inside and pulled through streets by 20 or so men, "performing" as they go, making the float twirl and bow to the instructions of the "conductor". This sounds simple but imagine the sheer effort involved when you know each float weighs about 4 tonnes, is about 9 metres wide, 5 metres tall and 7 metres long - like carrying a small house through the streets! 

As well as being a feast for eyes and ears, it was also interesting to see the brilliant team-working, and how much the Japanese love to have fun :)

Tags: aomori nebuta, japanese festival


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