Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Hojoya 2010

Mid-September rolled around and once again, it was time for Hojoya, one of Fukuoka's three biggest festivals. You can read more about Hojoya HERE. I know it has some significance in Shinto, but I (and most people) think of it as the "Food Stalls A-Go-Go Festival," since the 1km road up to Hakozaki Shrine is completely lined on both sides with food stalls for a solid week.

 Lovely sunset over Hakozaki miya-mae subway station
 Enormous bundles of fresh ginger
The crowds weren't too bad at this point, but once it started getting dark... 
 Done up in his festival finest
Yakitori (I'm actually not that fond) 
Had to visit the shrine, because, you know, it's a Shinto festival 
Choco-banana! The kid running the stand threw up the fastest peace sign I've ever seen. Must be a peace-sign throwing choco-banana selling champion of sorts. These were the cutest choco-bananas I saw (of the ten billion other choco-banana stalls). I should have gotten one here. The one I got was not very delicious.  
 Wooden ema boards, for writing wishes
 Special ema for Hojoya. The little girl is blowing a Hakata champon (a blown-glass toy that makes some sort of noise), not to be confused with Nagasaki champon (the delicious thick noodle dish)
"May I become happy" 
"May I enjoy every day" 
More festival best 
Roasted corn. Japanese people most often just say ko-n when referring to corn, but the actual Japanese word is toumorokoshi which I find really hard to say. Ko-n it is. 
Dusk falls on Hojoya 
Gaily lit stalls selling mediocre food 
 While I was walking and taking photos, I got shoved out of the way by this guy with an earpiece. He was followed by a small family, including and older guy and what looked to be his grandkids. The  earpiece guy kept shoving people out of the way without saying anything. I'm pretty sure they were yakuza. Japanese mobster-types.
 The main gate of Hakozaki Shrine
The crowds were pretty crazy by this point, despite it being a Tuesday (last year I went on the last night of the festival... now THAT was crazy). It was time to go home after spending way too much money on a lot of pretty bad festival food. Tradition is tradition, though, you know.


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