Nagano – IIda, Ringon Matsuri

Ahh yes. Nagano. The site of the winter Olympics just a few years ago. It looks a bit different in the summer though. Freakin hot. Sweating bullets everywhere. Freakin-a. Don’t even know why I bother to take a shower. *calm*.

Here I am. Writing at midnight again. Sorry if you have no idea what I’m talking about. I’m sleepy.

I’m okay now. Anyway, last weekend I went to Iida in Nagano to visit a friend. I used the highway bus, it only cost about 4000 yen one way from Tokyo (Shinjuku). I was invited at this time because there was a festival going on and apparently there would be dancing. Cool.

Iida is a great place, it’s very ‘inaka’ ‘c’, which means “Iowa” in Japanese. Err… I mean, ‘inaka’ means ‘country-side’ kinda place. Not the city. Anyway, no really goes to visit Iida, unless something special is going on, like Ringon matsuri. A person I met on the bus said it was going to be packed. It was crowded yeah, but nothing like Tokyo, but that’s a given.

In fact. The train in the equivalent of ‘Shinjuku’ in Iida only has two cars. That is amazing. Two carsB I bet they’re never full as well. Seriously though, Nagano feels very laid back, I would love to live there. Big houses. Wide fields, mountains everywhere… good stuff.

Ah yes. The matsuri.

On the day of the festival we all gathered at one of my friends friends friends fri…. yeah. House, and we all got red shirts to put on. We also got some cool ‘ringo’ bandana type things.

Ah yes. Ringo means apple in Japanese. Nagano is famous for delicious apples apparently. Everywhere is famous for some kind of food in Japan… I should write about that someday… Anyway…

Then we headed off to the festival area with all our gear.

Basically everyone in town lined up in the streets and repeated a 6 or 7 step dance while chanting a fun song for about two hours. There were four sessions, and between each some fireworks were set off. The group I was with was very… crazy. Most of the other groups were more orderly, and were wearing summer yukata’s, or ‘jinbei’s (guys stuff) instead of t-shirts. Below is a picture of one of the more orderly groups.

Anyway, that was a blast. Everyone, go to Iida next year for Ringon matsuri. If you ask around people probably won’t know about it unless they are from Iida… so just get on a bus and show up on the first weekend of August okay?

See ya next year.