Sunday, October 4, 2009

October means Matsuri. Matsuri means Kagura.

At least it does in my neck of the woods.


We decided to head to the matsuri at Imada. Imada, like my village, is not a place you pass through on the way to somewhere. It's out of the way, small, and quiet.

It was a nice warm evening, and the full moon shone through the mantles of mist that lay upon the mountains around the shrine.


As soon as we arrived 2 cold beers were pressed into our hands. Later we were given steaming bowls of oden and more beer. I like village matsuri's :)


The atmosphere was nice and relaxed and there was plenty of space in the shrine to seit. Outside local people had octopus balls, yakitori, and oden cooking. Lots of kids running around as this is one of the few nights of the year they get to stay up all night.


We spent a good hour chatting with Mr. Yamanaka, a local councillor and a trove of information on local history. Several times he grovelled on the floor to show just how low in the social hierarchy Imada was. He seemed curiously proud of how the local people were historically the bottom rung of the lowest class. He also was able to fill me in with some details of a local shinwa. He was very interested in reintroducing the old ways of growing rice and food, in symbiotic relationship with animals, wild and domestic.

The kagura was good. Imada plays the older 6-beat style, and Mr. Yamanaka bemoaned the loss of traditions in the newer more popular 8 beat kagura.The group only perform once a year, but played consientiously.

This short video is from the Iwato dance and Uzume is dancing to entice Amaterasu out of the cave.

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