Well today I could not get back to sleep once I woke up at 5:30AM, so I got cleaned up and went to the 7:30 Mass with Fr. Leo (our host) in Japanese. After Mass, a nice breakfast of cornflakes and yogurt. Then a short nap...finally I was sleepy. After the main Mass it was time for the parish bazaar. Fr. Paul went and cleaned house, so I had to take a crack at it and I did the same, lots of cool stuff to buy, oh and the food! Here are a few photos from the bazaar.
After the parish stuff, Fr. Paul and I headed off to a local Shinto festival. It was crazy fun. Right after we stepped off the train we were greeted with this spectacle.
After all that fun we went up to the main shrine and the grounds around the shrine. Then back down the hill for the main drag and more mobile shrines. All along the route were game booths and food stalls. This festival had a similar vibe to the parish bazaar...lots of very happy people! Here is a video of a local shinto band on their cart being pulled down the street.
Most of the stores and homes along the festival route were visited by a traveling shrine and shinto clergy. The family made an offering (money, food and sake) to the local deity (held in the mobile shrine) and then their place was officially blessed for the year. The folks you see in this video were kind enough to share their sake with us, yum!
It was a great day all around. The weather was the best we have had. The food and festivals were great. After all that fun we went to Tonki for pork cutlets, yummy (photos of that are forthcoming). We are off to the mountains tomorrow for a few days of retreat, so this might be the last post for a while. Until next time here are the photos from the shinto festival today. Peace