Gion Matsuri Goodies

I was quite busy last Saturday, out and about for almost 12 hours.

First, there was the yoiyoiyama of Gion Matsuri’s Ato Parade, and once again, I volunteered at the Ofunehoko. They adapt shift lengths every year to try and make it as easy as possible on the volunteers who have to stand there in the heat. This time, I chose the exceptionally short afternoon shift from 2 to 4:30 because I had plans for later.

It wasn’t as hot as I thought it would be, in fact, this year feels less humid overall. Of course, this may also be because I stay on my mountain most of the days. Some friends came by to cheer me on (and buy chimaki), so the shift was over very quickly. And, for the first time, they also had an English pamphlet for people who entered the Ofunehoko, and I was in charge as the “English-speaking lead” of the shift.

Anyway, a friend picked me up at the very end, and we looked at a few more of the yamaboko. We caught several just at the time they were playing the Gion bayashi music – rhythms with flutes, gongs, and drums that are unique to every hoko of Gion Matsuri. It was fun.

And then we made our way to the Bati-Holic Kimono Rock Party. It was a one-man-show, a concert with just Bati-Holic this time, and it had been sold out weeks prior. They are always very energizing, and it was nice to see them play in front of a house full of fans. Some people I recognized from earlier concerts, and I made a few new connections, which is always nice.

About the goodies mentioned in the title: All volunteers at the Ofunehoko get one chimaki for free, it’s a protective charm that you put up at the entrance of your house. The reason I chose this particular shift was that I had to wear a yukata – and as the name suggests, the “Kimono Rock Party” was all about kimono/yukata, and people dressed in such got a tenugui towel as a special gift.

I’m not sure why it had to be pink (rock band and all), but Pumpkin seems to approve regardless.