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August is peak summer season in Japan.  We can look forward to some of the most spectacular fireworks displays and festivals in the world, ...

Aomori Nebuta Matsuri

26 hours later I finally arrived at Aomori Station by local line from Kanagawa Prefecture, Yokohama.  That's a little over 475 km.   I was spent and I had no energy left to do anything.  If you've got balls to ride local lines this far with luggage in tow then more power to you.  The Seishin 18 ticket makes it possible to travel on any local line in Japan unlimited five times.    Two  things that kept me motivated were the sweet girls I had met along the way, like when the girl across from me in daisy dukes was doing up her toe nails in candy apple red; she had spread her legs half eagle open wide across the empty seat.  We enjoyed nice conversations together and took pictures of each other.  The other thing was the beautiful view rural hamlets from the window.   It still blows my mind how a person can be born, live, and then die in the same town without seeing anywhere else their country.   You can see the tomb stones in the backyards of homes!  Most Japanese living this far up north were born at home and grew up and died in the same home.   At my friends house where I had stayed I was told that his great grandmother, grandmother, and  mother, including all of his siblings were born under the same roof.    Amazing how in the 21st Century how the continuity of tradition still lives on.  This is Japan.



The vibe this far up north is surreal.  There's just no comparison with Tokyo.   People in Tokyo have become too Euro-trashy and confused about what  " Japan" is, like just after Meiji period when people starting wearing Western-style dresses and trousers.     Aomori is where it all comes together in terms of everything:  Great sake; amazing looking women; awesome seafood; wonderful hot spring spas; pristine nature, and so much more.   I could say that about all of Tohoku, though.   Americans are wholly ignorant about Tohoku.   They think radiation radiation whenever they hear the word Tohoku,  like Fukushima Daichi is the capitol of Tohoku or something.    Tepco poisoned all of Tohoku!   You can believe that if you want.   There is no Chernobyl here in Japan, and never was.

I arrived at my hotel just after 5:30 when the sun was starting to set.    After I got to my room I washed my face and got changed for the evening and headed out with the 60D and a few cold beers in a plastic bag.



At the intersection I crossed over to a convenience store to grab a can of sake "joppari."

I spot the local scenery.   Everyone was adorned in traditional wear and were in a festive mood.
It's not my first time in Aomori.   I have been here several times in the past for great food and hot spas.  My purpose this time was to attend the most celebrated matsuri in Japan.  Coming here again just reaffirms my beliefs about what I claim about this prefecture.  The Aomori Nebuta Matsuri.

The three major festivals (matsuri) in this prefecture are Hirosaki, Aomori city, and Hachinohe.   They are all beautiful and they all have illuminated floats.  One float costs anywhere from 3 to 6 million yen depending on the sponsor.   That's about as much as a brand new car.   Below is Mount Fujii.


There was something for the whole family.   Summer festivals are a town event enjoyed by the entire community.   The more sinister looking floats are intentional and evoke a sense of power from way back when warring factions fought each other for dominance in the Mutsu Province.

On my 3rd beer and I was really starting to enjoy myself.   I was even starting to pick up on the groove of the marching music.   The name of the marching music and chant  is called "Rassera"or ラッセラー.  If you where stereo headphones you'll be able to hear it along with the accompanying drum sounds in the video below.

Just being here amidst all the noise and chatter was exhilarating.   I got to see 30 very large floats being paraded around town.   I have tons more pictures to post up, but probably won't.  Just know that you cannot miss this event next year.   You absolutely need to check it out.

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