All too soon, the alarm went off. We got up, got ready, and made our early train to Yorii.
There aren’t many things that will get us out of bed early on a weekend morning…but a samurai festival is one of them.
寄居町北條祭り-Yorii Machi Houjou Matsuri-Yorii Town Samurai Festival. This festival, held every year, is a historical reenactment of a samurai battle that took place on the banks of the Arakawa River some 400 or so years ago.
A friend of ours participates in this festival every year and coordinates a group of international volunteers. We were asked to join.
What a fantastic opportunity.
For some reason, it was decided that Karl and I would be wearing the most intricate costumes in our group. We had to get up so early so there would be time to get dressed and adjust everything without rushing.
Karl’s outfit-by far-took the longest.
|Karl's outfit in pieces before dressing.|
|First the shirt, pants and arm guards.|
|Much help is needed during this process.|
|The leg guards.|
|Finishing touches...this outfit took over an hour to put on.|
|The dratted too-small footwear we all had to wear for seven hours.|
|Tying the straw sandals on the feet. Again, help was needed.|
|Ready to go lead the samurai troops!|
|Me keeping Karl in line.|
|There were many cute little samurais running around. Some were my students!|
Once we finished dressing, we had to walk to the banks of the river, where the opening ceremony-and later on, the battle reenactment-would take place.
|Lined up, listening to speeches.|
|Checking each other out...I think the samurai look works.|
After numerous speeches by politicians (which lasted waaaaay too long in full armor, 80+ degree weather in the beating sun) we all trooped through town on a parade.
Karl had to make a little motivational speech-in Japanese. He was very well received.
|Karl passionately addressing the crowds.|
|Cheers and raising of katanas and spears.|
After the speeches and parade, back to the beach we went to watch the battle reenactment.
|The smoke billowing around the battlefield.|
After the fireworks and smoke subsided as the "battle" ended, we were mobbed by people wanted photos of the gaijin samurai. Many a photo was taken.
|My helmet was a tad large...I had to adjust it frequently. Fortunately it was plastic. Karl's was metal and very heavy.|
|Our International samurai group.|
|These guys were the coolest.|
|Our best try at acting. I think we should stick to teaching.|
So despite the heat and heavy armor, this was a really wonderful experience.
But next time...I think I'll just watch and take pictures.