There was one good thing though. Thanks to the nasty weather, there were plenty of parking spaces available. Unheard of under normal conditions.
And that's how we found ourselves walking from Higashi Junior High School in Kanuma across the river to where the action was.
The river banks were still littered with the remnants of the last flood. Kanuma got it bad and it showed.
Kanuma Buttsuke Aki Matsuri is held on the second weekend in October and lasts 2 days.
Kanuma is the name of the city. Buttsuke is what they do during this festival, which is sort of crash the festival floats into each other. Aki means fall in Japanese. And matsuri is a Japanese festival.
I have written about this event on many occasions in the past, so go and look it up.
This year was same same but different.
What was new and different this year was the fact that as soon as the festival staff noticed me, the immediately ran over and handed me an English-language booklet.
"Be still my heart! Kanuma is really stepping up their game", I thought to myself.
The booklet, in that odd but charming English that is so characteristic to Japanese pamphlets, explained that Kanuma Buttsuke Fall Festival is trying to be recognized as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage (along with other yama-hoko-yatai float festivals in Japan, 32 in all). However, on the UNESCO site it is listed as 'Kanuma Imamiya Shrine Festival'. Technically correct, because the shrine is at the center of the festivities.
Because car jacks are for amateurs
So the UNESCO bid explains the English and the uber-helpfulness and willingness to assist the foreign visitors. It felt almost strange at times, as if all the festival participants were told to be super nice and super "genki" when they see a foreigner. And considering that Kanumans are naturally very friendly and helpful, last Sunday it seemed as if they went slightly overboard with the "omotenashi" spirit. Or maybe it was just the alcohol.
Yes, there were 27 carved yatai (14 of them the real deal from the Edo era). Yes, there were traditional orchestras. Yes, there were festival stands and festival foods.
But that's standard at other float festivals, too.
Where Kanuma outshines all the competitors is the hair.
And with that, let's take a look at what's really important.
Now, this is Kanuma hair at its finest.
Then you can stick a wooden something into your hair and call it a day:
But at least one person just couldn't be arsed:
Kanuma Buttsuke Aki Matsuri deserves the UNESCO heritage status for the hair alone.