We began our trip to the Tohoku region of Japan. Its the northern most region of the main island of Honshu. First stop Morioka.
Lunch was wanko soba…they keep feeding you small portions of soba until you give up.
Our main purpose was the Sansa Odori Festival. Its not one of the big three festivals of Tohoku (Sendai’s Tanabata, Akita’s Kanto, and Aomori’s Nebuta), but its less crowded and a good time. Unlike the big three festivals which have been around for hundreds of years, the Sansa Odori was started less than 30 years ago to drum up tourism and the dance was choreographed by I belive Gekidan Shiki.
The odori is a procession of a drum and dance groups consisting in total of about 20,000 people, including 5,000 taiko drums. The sound of 5,000 taiko drums is impressive.
Each group is typically a corporate, community association, or university. Its interesting to see the corporate dynamics. For example if you work at say Morioka Bank and you’re a first year employees, you’re probably force to participate and get the job that nobody wants – the tail dancers or pushing the speaker cart. These guys are obvious, they look like they don’t want to be there. Senior people on the other hand look like they are trying too hard since they want to appear like they are setting an example.