söndag 27 november 2011

Asakusa field trip and Kawagoe Matsuri

Long time, no post. Sorry :/ But here's a long post! At least there are many pictures :) And since I've been too lazy to update for the last eight weeks or so, there will be a few retrospective posts coming up.

Anyway, this post is about a field trip to Asakusa arranged by Waseda University International Community Center that I went on about one and a half month ago. There will also be photos from a festival, Kawagoe Matsuri, that I went to in the evening the same day.

The first stop on the Asakusa trip was an old traditional craft shop in a calmer part of the area where the owner explained the art of dyeing. We were seated around a small table in a tiny room full of dyed fabrics while the owner explained how the dyeing is done, what materials to use, and also showed us a video.  ´

The photo above shows the plants used for making the dye. The photo below is of a paper where a pattern for the dyeing has been cut out.

After that we went to another building where the dye solutions were kept. Apparently the solutions have never been changed since he started the business, which, if I remember correctly, were some 40 years ago.

The original plan was that we were to dye our own handkerchiefs, but unfortunately we ran out of time. Though we still got to try it with a smaller piece of fabric as in the picture above, and you can see the result below.

Here you can see the whole process in three steps. The top part is the white fabric, and the red is a sort of glue that is applied with the help of the pattern papers. In the middle part the fabric is dyed and the glue is still left, and at the bottom the glue has been removed with water. This is the final result, and this blue/indigo is the only colour they use. Here are some of the works in the shop.


We then moved on to a nice little old-fashioned shopping street where we had lunch, and then we got up close with the Tokyo Sky Tree. Can't wait till it opens in spring! :) We also went to a park and a temple. Some pictures below. 

Next up are some photos from Kawagoe Matsuri that two friends and I went to later in the evening. Kawagoe is less than an hour's train ride from Tokyo, located northwest of the city in the Saitama direction. The festival is held here every year in October, and it attracts a lot of people.

During a festival the streets are usually crammed with different festival stands. Most of them sell food or snacks, but toys and idol merchandise aren't that uncommon either. And you're likely to see a stand where you can buy goldfish, or, as in the case below, turtles.

However, the highlight is the festival floats - big decorated wagons pulled around by volunteers. On these there are musicians and dancers, performing tradtitional music and dance while going around the streets of the town. The dancers are dressed as different characters, for example a girl, a fox or a dragon. It rained a bit the night we went there, so some of the floats were covered in plastic for protection.

There were quite many floats, so while going around town they would often meet with one another. Then some sort of competition between them would begin, each group showing off their skills. I've tried to upload a video of the spectacle, but it just won't work. Until I manage to upload it you'll have to make do with some more photos.

We strolled around town, had some festival food and watched the performances. Kawagoe has a lot of old-style buildings, so it was easy to get into the festival mood :) It was really fun and I'm glad I went. If you want to read more about the festival, you can do it here: http://kawagoematsuri.jp/English/index.html

I'm ending this post with my favourite character from the floats. Grrr!

1 kommentar:

  1. I went to Kawagoe once :) It's a really cosy place. But ofc I didn't go there during the festival but I did visit the festival museum which really did give a nice image of what the real festival would be like ;)