Every year, on October 21st, on Teshima, in the village of Karato, the Karato Hachiman Matsuri takes place.
Despite its very small size (or thanks to its very small size?) it is my favorite matsuri, so I attend it as often as possible.
I won’t tell you the same thing as pretty much every year (about how great, welcoming, fun and friendly the people of Karato and the matsuri are) so I invite you to read the previous posts if you haven’t already done so:
- My “discovery” of the matsuri in 2010.
- The second part of the 2010 matsuri (with a big surprise for me).
- The 2012 matsuri.
This year, I went there a bit sad or frustrated. I knew I had to the opportunity to carry the taikodai again, just like in 2010, but my left arm concerned me a little.
To make a long story short, during my teens, I had a problem with my left arm (top of the humerus to be precise), a bone cyst, I think it is called in English. As a result, I broke my bone four times over two years (always at the same spot) and had to have pretty heavy surgery. Last time I had it checked, about 20 years ago, it seemed fine and should stay that way (apparently it affects only growing bones, not adult bones). Indeed it’s been fine since. However, lately, it felt funky from time to time. Maybe it’s nothing, maybe it’s just rheumatism (yes, I’m slowly approaching that age), maybe I should have it checked again soon, just in case.
In any case, carrying a wooden structure weighing several hundred kilograms without knowing what’s going on in my arm was not the best of ideas, so I had to pass with much regret.
On the boat to Teshima, I met with three French speakers (two French and a Swiss) who were pretty nice guys, who were visiting Japan for the first time (they were going to Teshima for the Setouchi Triennale) and who had no idea what a matsuri was. With an idea in the back of my mind, I invited them to come check it out.
They came, and what I knew was going to happen, happened; they were invited to carry the taikodai. Not really knowing what they were getting into, they accepted, and after a few advice from my small experience, there they went. If I couldn’t carry the taikodai this year, some other French speakers would do it then.
If you wonder, they loved the experience, to the point that they kept wearing their happi all day long after that (they were given to them as a thank you present, actually I was given one too as I never got to keep mine in 2010), and a week after, the people of Karato still spoke about them. 🙂
Here are a video and a few pictures of the matsuri. Enjoy:
All in all, it was another fun and great day on Teshima (every day on Teshima is a fun and great day). I hope I’ll get to carry the taikodai in 2014, it’s been too long since I’ve done it.