It was with great excitement and anticipation that I awoke this morning, only to have it dashed rather soggily as I discovered it was raining rather excessively. Festival fail. Unfortunately, this meant that the festival was pretty much canceled. It seems odd to me that for something like the third biggest festival in Japan, they wouldn’t have some sort of wet-weather plan, particularly when it occurs annually in October. I headed out mid-morning in the general direction of where the festivities would have taken place, just in case something was happening. They did have the floats on display under the cover of their little storehouses. They were impressively ornate…and old, some of them dating back to the 1700s. The streets were teeming with folk in town for the now-aborted festival. Lots of short Japanese folk whose umbrellas were at the most unfortunate height for me. I wandered through parts of the old town I hadn’t seen before, until I reached the river, along which the morning market was going on.
Lots of food, interspersed with children’s games. After a failed attempt to find out what was in some roasted balls (I later determined it was octopus), I couldn’t help but go with an old stand-by: deep-fried cheese sticks! The rain seemed to increase, so I quickly decided on a banana crepe, which I kind of got ripped-off on…500 Yen for a crepe that had maybe a half a banana with lots of whip cream and chocolate syrup. As I wasn’t getting any drier, I made my way back to the hotel, at which point, amusingly, the rain lessened. Chatted with David for awhile, catching up on the days events and plans ahead, before letting him go to sleep. I got in some work on the SSHRC application before deciding I should make a run to the store. The rain was pretty torrential, and it was a wet, cold walk to the convenience store a few blocks away. Egg salad sandwiches and some yogurt for tomorrow morning and I was set. I was soon back at the hostel, curled up in my delightfully dry bunk, puttering away on various work items.
It is rather sad that I didn’t get to see the festival…particularly since it is such a rare occurrence that I would actually be in Japan when it was going on…and really tragic that I came to Takayama just for the festival (and the cost of the train ticket back to Tokyo is about half of the total cost of a JR Pass). Nevertheless, one always must roll with the punches when traveling…perhaps if this was the beginning of my trip, I would be more down-trodden, but I’ve had an excellent run, with lots of great experiences to take home with me. It will be good to get back to Vancouver…I say that now, but I may rescind that when I feel the brunt of the mountain of work/studying ahead of me. Ah well, good night Japan. I thank you for your hospitality. It’s been fun.