Sunday, October 4, 2009

yabu-something or the other

In recent days “Budget Trouble” has been experiencing some serious, heavy-duty budget trouble, because after all, MacBooks don’t grow on trees and Photoshop has a price tag that only Photoshop can have. So, instead of blogging, yours truly has been busy doing what most people with budget trouble do, namely, making money.

But even being totally broke (swine flu notwithstanding) did not stop us from having fun. Free fun, of course. Last weekend was a five-day affair in Japan, and on one of those days a traditional archery festival – Yabusame – was held at a shrine in a nearby town.

Technically, yabusame (流鏑馬) is archery on horseback, and as all things in Japan (except for washlets perhaps, but hey, even that’s debatable) was invented during the Kamakura period. When was that? A long time ago.

But because the Japanese are obsessed with all sorts of traditional things, such as J-pop, manga, wearing wooden flip-flops and punctuating every (no matter how brief) conversation with at least five “eeeehhhhhhs” and “aaaaaahhhhhhhs”, they still organize yabusame events.

The festival we went to took place at the Nakamura shrine in Moka (yes, Moka again, after all, it IS my favorite town in Tochigi). And besides archery, there were other things to watch there as well. My preferred activity was the sword waving, where individuals dressed in traditional clothing (there you have that "tradition" bit again) waved swords and cut bamboo sticks (yes, those were real swords) while hordes of spectators snapped pictures.

Cutting girl bw square 2

Hey, look, it's Azumi.

Cutting girl bw square

The archery event was last and sadly, it was very anti-climactic. There were only three riders, their shooting was not so good (blame Asahi super dry, I guess), and between the dust and the mosquitoes I’ve had enough of it after about 2 rounds. Sitting in the car and reading Bill Bryson's "Down Under" proved a much more exciting way to pass the time. But hey, the festival was free, so I know I have no right to complain.

On horses all 3

More photos of the event here and here and here and here.

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