YOHTAKA Andon(Lantern) Festival 2013 in Numata Town 3 !

 by Kazu

Needless to say, the enthusiasm and the manner of the citizens and the tourists in the festival are something to write about. Please enjoy the photos taken by the drunken pink elephant;)

It's a pity that I can not take you two to the festival this year, Kathleen and Alan.
To keep the leather of the drums dry, they were also covered with plastic sheet.
 The hotels in the town and adjacent area were fully booked by the tourists every year but I managed to keep a room.

As only a few of the restaurants were opened during the festival,  the food in the convenience stores were almost sold out. It was the first time for me to see the "empty store".
Please check out the location of restrooms when you visit and enjoy this festival.
 The lantern float turned at the intersection heading to the final stage of the festival.
 Led by Mr. Yokoyama, we were also heading to the final stage in front of the railway station. 
 The lantern floats went by in front of the people. Basically, it was prohibited to enter the street but we were allowed as the guests of the town.
The policemen showed their best performance to control the traffic and the tourists as their peers did in the western part of Japan, who was called "DJ Police".
 The plastic sheet on a small lantern float was taken off.
If I became a citizen of the town and contributed, could I stand on the float ?

How long have the citizens of the town devoted their time and themselves to the annual festival every year ?

The young girls of the town led the parade with their torch and beauty.
When the floats were passing the intersections, the electric wires should be lifted a little bit. Actually, a guy on the float got electric shock when the float was passing the intersection before.
Before the lantern fight, Japanese traditional drumming was performed by the young boys and girls of the town.
I took my hat off to all the citizens of the town. They are the one.

As Mt. Fuji was designated as one of the world heritage, the special lantern was made this year.

The lantern float made up by the grade school in Numata Town also took of the veil and showed its beautiful body.

Do the occidental people need more dynamic and aggressive festival ?
I prefer this friendly but reserved festival.
 We are very looking forward to receiving the dynasty from NM and waiting for the wind of desert in the United States.

Of course, we are also waiting for the friends in Canada and other parts on the globe.  

 The mayor of the town Mr. Kanehira calls the shot in every operation of the town and grabs the heart of the citizens.

Everybody was waiting for taking off the sheets.

 The people started to fidget before the lantern fight followed by the end of the festival.

The lantern fight started without taking off the plastic sheets.

The first lantern fight of the night was in the slight rainfall.
If anybody wants to have the handy fan of the festival, please send email to
with the address to send it.

I was born in Kitami City, not in Numata Town, but I felt kind of nostalgia in this festival.

 Is this what most of Japanese people want to have in mind ?

 All the youngsters of the town lug around the lantern floats in downtown and play the role of the driving force of the festival.  

Young girls with torches gave us the service shot in the parade.
 To raise up the floats, the power of the youngsters were required. It may be the best occasion for oldsters and youngsters to get together.
Each person played their own role perfectly in each part of the festival.

They would drink so much after this festival but they would have to make the town shipshape and spic and span on Sunday.
Kudos to the soldiers !

The people of the silhouette began to take off the plastic sheets on the final stage.
 The both of the float was set on the designated position to start the fight.

The lantern float made by the farmers' association Kita-Ibuki took off the cover sheet.
Praying for the peace of the world, this characters, "Tenka-Taihei" are written on the lantern every year.
It was so beautiful.

After the office hour in each organization, a tremendous amount of time was devoted preparing for the festival and building up the lantern floats.  
These lantern floats can be seen in the museum of the festival in the town even in other seasons.

 The final drumming had begun.
All the drummers got together on the final stage of the festival.
 The cover sheets were taken off from all the lantern floats before the lantern fights.
The lantern floats exhale the steam hissing in the crash.

 We were very happy to see the lantern fight without rainfall this year, too.
We were sitting on the chairs set on the sidewalk in front of the railway station and drinking beer and Japanese sake.
The leaders of the area and the guests started to be seated before the final lantern fight.

I wish I could keep all the memory of this beautiful festival till the end and after my life.

To the extent, the lanterns and the behavior of the people were excellent and beautiful.
It may be a Shangri-La on this globe but even this town is facing the aging population and depopulation.
The lantern fight repeated again and again led by the MC. He controlled the angle to crash.
"Raise, raise, raise !" said the MC.

Only the front lantern was for the crash.

After the fight, the lanterns went out of the stage and headed to the warehouse for them.
 The last song was sung by the MC and the people.
I think the same MC showed his best performance this three years but is it difficult to nurture the successor ?
The world started to go dancing around me.
 As time went by, it seemed that the brightness of the lanterns were increasing.
 So many community festivals disappeared and it is difficult to maintain some festivals held in some part of Japan including Hokkaido. The roles of communities are fading away in the situation where the virtual realities are sweeping around the world ?    

This is the lantern float made by the chambers and commerce of the town. Which do you like better, the bare lantern or the one with cover sheets ?
It was like a dream in summer. I was wondering who enjoyed the festival the most.
I think I will have to leave the area next year but I will exert my best effort to maintain this festival for good.  
The voice of the MC and singer was getting husky as the lantern fights. He looked a little bit tired after two-day performance even though the people were peering at the bright lanterns, not his silhouette.
The end of the festival was getting closer. I felt creepy loneliness albeit my wife was beside.  It occurs every year and I drink too much to the extent I lose my memory.
 Maybe the bumper crop of the town is brought every year because this festival pleases the deities of the area amply.
I want to come to the town and the festival again and again but I am wondering what I can do for the prosperity of the town and the happiness of the citizens.

Thank you very much again, Mr. Kanehira,  Mr. Yokoyama and all the staff who played up the fantabulous festival of the town !