Sunday, May 07, 2006
In Japan, the first week of May is called Golden Week because a number of holidays occur together. Theater owners called the week "Golden Week" because of the increased attendance. Now festivals are held throughout Japan during this week, and we went to Fukuoka, a nearby city, to help our coworkers do outreach at a large festival called Dontaku. About 2 million people attend yearly for the parades and various musical and dance performances held on outdoor stages throughout the city. In the upper and lower pictures above, you can see the crowd watching the parade and a girl marching in traditional Japanese dress (she is so adorable). On the right, some men are pounding mochi, which is a gooey Japanese rice cake. On the left, Matt and two friends, Nancy and Joan, are showing off their stylish Michael Jackson gloves. Actually, an organization came up with the great idea of bribing attendees with a free drink if they would pick up trash as they see it. Unlike America, where there's a trash can on every corner, public trash cans are basically located in public restrooms and beside vending machines. Therefore, a program like this is necessary. (Imagine 2 million people visiting your town for two days, eating meals from street vendors, and having no trashcans in which to deposit their trash). Well, that's enough trash talk. All in all, it was a pretty fun cultural experience.