Thursday, August 30, 2012

Festivals, "teaching"s, and whatsits

Ok, so new post....yeah......ok first off let's start with my adventure of: The Sekikawa Snake Festival




*guessed what I'm referencing yet-ation?*

*quit being a dork and just tell us about the story* >.>.....yeah ok, I'm done.........anyhoo, on with the narration ^^''''.....:   **warning I didn't proof read this**

Ok, so I went to go take part in the Sekikawa Snake Festival...for some clips of the festival follow this link:   (the videos are a tad of of order).....Ok, so I was interested in going to this festival...little did I know that the snake I was going to help carry weighs over 2 tons or so -.-....very heavy and my shoulder is still recovering....but it was fun^^. 

Ok, so I got up at 5, so I could leave by 6, get to a place to take a bus (I found out about the bus later) by 8:15 and arrive at the festival @ 8:30-9.....I drank a lot of water the day before and in the morning b/c it was crazy hot and even crazier was around the upper 80s with a humidity in the 70-80s as well....So needless to say after driving past the place where I was supposed to catch a bus like 6 times -.-....I was told to meet by the police station, but it was actually a bit down from the police station....and I thought that I was meeting at the start of the parade so I was looking for this big crowd and giant snake but it was like a ghost town w/ few people yeah I would drive past it in one direction, stop and ask for directions and head back the way I just came from, ask for directions and head back the way I just came from...I actually stopped at the right place once but this older guy (who was going to help carry the snake too) told me to go further down the road....he was trying to tell me to go to where the snake was, and seeing as I wasn't aware that I was supposed to take a bus there I drove back the way I just came from and stopped for directions was pointed back to where I was just at....but this time there were more people so I decided that it was the right spot and waited there to meet up w/ someone...who I was told could speak English...who would help me get to the parade.  So I was confused b/c there was no snake and I thought I was at the start of the parade...and on top of that I had been driving for two hours after drinking a lot of water so I had to pee. But of course the building that we were meeting at was closed so I walked next door and I saw some people outside of the house...seeing as how that was the first group of non-parade affiliated people that I saw during the past half hour of driving in and out of that part of town, I decided that they were my best bet at getting to a bathroom. So I asked them in broken Japanese and apologized and thanked them profusely and they were nice enough to let me into their house to use the older lady, I'm guessing the little boys' grandmother, showed me to the bathroom and showed me how to use their was one of the weird ones that has a sink attached to the top of it and the sink turns on when you flush the toilet....I guess that way you can't forget to wash your hands?.....Anyhoo, the super nice family let me use their bathroom and seemed to enjoy having a gaijin stumbling up to them asking to use a bathroom lol.  So after that I went back to the place where the parade people were..or at least that's who I was hoping they were.....and the one person's friend still wasn't there to meet me, and a lot of Junior High and High School kids showed up, and they kept looking at me and whispering amongst themselves, some would smile and wave back, but most of them got this look of "oh crap she knows we're talking about her" look on their face if I acknowledged them lol. 
        Ok, so the person's friend shows up w/ her kids and she can't really speak English but she was super friendly^^....and I think she assumed that I spoke some Japanese b/c she kept talking to me and asking me questions which I did a rather good job at guessing what she asked b/c I'd answer and she seemed happy w/ what I said and kept talking.   Two buses showed up and the other parade people pretty much filled up the buses and they seemed a little annoyed that the person's friend, her kids and I wanted to ride the bus too.  But they let us on, I had to ride in a different bus than the lady and her kids b/c there wasn't enough for me I got to sit awkwardly between some Jr/Sr High school boys who seemed a little weirded out by me sitting there....and that in itself was rather amusing^^. So we got to the place where the parade started and a bunch of cars were parking in a nearby lot which made me wonder why the original person who told me to meet people by the police station didn't just have me drive another 5-10 minutes past the police station to get to where the parking lot by the start of the festival -.-....but I figured he must have had a reason so Ilet it go.  So I'm finally where I was trying to get to, and met the guy and his wife and kids (his wife is from Arizona) and they were happy that I found my way there and that I was helping out with the parade. They were really nice people, but were heavily involved with the parade so they couldn't really talk....and the other lady had to look after her kids, so after the one guy showed me to the person who I'd be standing next to while I carried the snake, he left it at that and went back to help his wife and the others get everything together.   The person that I was carrying the snake with was either in his last year of junior high, or freshman in high school...but he was nice and his name as Kiyoto....I  said his name more like Kyoto (the city) which made a lot of people laugh and then he emphasized that it was Kiiiiyoto and not Kyoto.  His dad and friends were there and they were a nice bunch, they kept trying to ask me things in broken English or very simple Japanese...and I tried to answer as best I could.  Oh and I got to meet the mayor of the city, he was a pretty awesome old guy who proudly introduced himself to me (in English) as the "Head Man of the town" ^^.  Then some people came out to play drums and then there was a Kampai! and then the parade began....oh and they were dishing out free sake and beer all throughout the parade to the people who helped carry the snake...and aside from the small shot of sake for the kampai I didn't drink any b/c I didn't want to get dehydrated. 

   The parade involved a lot of people carrying a giant snake that weighed 2+ tons about 4-5miles through the city....and we didn't just carry it in a straight line, we made it slither like a real, being in the middle I was naturally swayed (flailed) back and forth along the street as we carried this giant snake.  It was really hard on my shoulder b/c I was taller than the guy helping me carry that segment of the snake so more of the weight was on me than him...but later on a taller guy switched out w/ Kiyoto and I noticed a huge difference in how much weight was no longer directly on my shoulder...though by that point my shoulder was really sore from carrying it for a good 2+ miles so I switched with someone to let them take over and used that opportunity to take some pictures and relax a bit.   We took 5-10 minute breaks about every mile, and there were tables w/ people serving out water, sports drinks and beer to the people carrying the about the halfway point they also had watermelon and cucumbers and some other things like that for us to munch on.  I'd say I carried the snake about 3 miles before I stopped....I would've switched with some to get back in, but my shoe was starting to fall off after getting flat-tired, so I switched out to fix it and got stuck behind a bunch of people who were following the snake carriers. I stayed toward the back end of the snake since I couldn't maneuver my way back up to my spot, but seeing as the back was lighter no one really needed or wanted to switch out.  So after the next break I moved further up but on the opposite side...Kiyoto's dad and friends asked what happened to me and I told them my shoe almost fell off and then I got stuck behind a lot of people and couldn't get back to my spot which made them laugh and then the break was up, but I was on the opposite side of my spot and there weren't any empty spots on that side so I was kinda was close to the end by that point....I stayed on the side opposite of my original spot that way if someone wanted me to take there spot then I could carry it on my shoulder that didn't hurt...but it was near the end so no one really wanted to switch out....but I was ok with that b/c I really didn't want both of my shoulders to really hurt. .....oh and the little kids got to pull a mini-version of the big snake (theirs was on wheels >.> lucky little kids) behind us.....oh and while trying to sway around a corner of the street (b/c we had to violently slither around much so that people were running trying to keep the snake together as it swung around) was kind of fun, and kind of "Oh my god why are we running w/ a 2+ ton snake around corners where we are all really close to each other and step on each other while walking so now  we're going to run and try not to trip o.0?!?" But we never tripped....though one section swayed too wide and got stuck in a street sign lol ^^.....oh and there was an older lady w/ a giant fan that would walk along the snake fanning us, it was pretty awesome b/c it was sooo hot. 

So the parade ending....luckily I wasn't carrying the snake at the end b/c they were running really fast and slithering back and forth really fast and lifting it up and down at the girl did trip and fall but luckily she was toward the back and the people by her managed to stumble around her without tripping.....but yeah it was crazy and I was really tired and sun burnt and sore by that point, so watching was definitely much nicer than carrying I got to take videos and pictures that way^^.  A few different groups came up and did a dance of played the drums and there was some food for sale and such....and after the other groups performed the people went and got the snake again (I missed out of the finally of carrying the snake b/c I was trying to buy some more water when they gathered up...but again, I was pretty worn out and dehydrated and super crispy by that point that I was happy w/ watching.....but it still looked like maybe next summer I can help out again....and remember sunscreen!!!.....and help carry the snake at the end of the festival^^. 
         Oh, and several people came up to me to try to talk to me, ask me if I was from America and such, and upon me telling them that I was a teacher they pulled their kid or grandkid out from hiding behind them and tried to get them to say hi to me, and the parent or grandparent was so happy to hear I was a teacher and they acted like it was the best news they heard all day lol.  I also ran into a fellow gaijin, he was from the US as well, he was here through a different program to teach English at schools, but was good friends with a lot of JETs.....he was really happy to see me, he said he always gets excited to see fellow foreigners, especially if they're from the US too lol.  He was super nice, and I was really happy to see him b/c I had no clue how I was going to get back to my car.  The guy and his wife left after the main part of the festival was over b/c they had to get their kids home, so he just came up to me and thanked me for coming and told me to ride one of the buses to get to where I needed to go...he said he was pretty sure they'd take me back, and then he left.......And no one was really getting on the buses even though he said they'd start making rounds to take people back soon, and I asked the lady who rode the bus w/ me if she was taking the bus back and she said no (I later found out that she also tried to tell me that her parents were going to drive us back-.-).....but I just understood that she wasn't taking the buses then the fellow gaijin found me so I asked him to help me out, so he brought over his fellow English-speaking Japanese friends and we were trying to sort it out when one of the ladies kids came over and told me to come with her to I looked confused at the others and said "I guess they're taking me back?....if not then I can just ask them too later."  The others made sure that I was ok w/ asking the lady for a ride and then I followed the little girl to her mom and grandparents and we left.....and luckily I guessed correctly and the ladies parents were driving us back to where my car was ^0^ about a sigh of relief lol^^....they were super nice and they gave me some mochi-cakes that they got at the festival and her kids and parents kept asking me questions that I managed to luckily guess and figure out what they were asking even though most of the questions were in Japanese....they could understand English better than they could speak it so luckily I could answer mostly in English and they'd understand most of what I said if I kept the sentences simple......and luckily a lot of people ask the same questions over and over so I can recognize a few key words here and there lol^^....but yeah they dropped me off, I drove 2hrs back to the house and showered and prepared for work the next day...oh and skyped with mom and dad^^ it was a really fun day^^, kind of stumbled through parts of it, but I'd do it again^^....except w/ sunscreen next time >.< I can't believe I forgot to put it on, I even left it out, but I guess waking up at 5 and trying to rush out the door so I'd have enough time to try to figure out where I was going, I just spaced out and forgot it -.-....oh well.....but yeah that was my weekend......I'll try to post again in the near future (as in tomorrow) about school and my neighbors^^.  So feel free to harass me if I don't get another post up tomorrow.....and tomorrow as in Friday, for those of you who are state side and are just getting up on Thursday morning and might think that I posted this on Wednesday :p........ok g'night.....hmmm I need a catchy signature to sign out with......hmmmmm >.>................................I'll try to think of one later so you'll have to do with:   Meh :p

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