Date of Activity: August 25th
Today was a great experience! We were given the opportunity to help out the community by setting up the Kappa matsuri (kappa festival) that was held that day. In the morning we pulled our half-awake bodies together and set up a big amount of bamboo candles, including the ones that we made earlier this week. This took a fair amount of time, as we decorated a path that would be crossed by about 10.000 people that day. Although we were exhausted after clearing the job, the result of our work that would become visible by nightfall, was totally worth it. When it was time for lunch, we joined in with the locals and fished for our soumen (noodles) that came floating by on a 60m long bamboo structure. Those who lacked the dexterity to fill their stomachs with soumen were saved by the LOC with McDonalds meals. With our bodies reenergized, we joined the Kappa dance parade for which we learned the dance earlier this week. Some of us were dressed up as Kappas or some other funny creature and others were holding their country’s flag. It was entertaining to see thousands of local people react on a group of foreigners like ourselves, dancing one of their traditional dances. I’m very happy that I got this rare opportunity to be so involved with local culture. After the parade, people gathered at a central area in the park where food and drinks were sold and soon people started dancing and singing, giving it a real local festival feeling. The day ended with an amazing fireworks show, which was the cherry on the pie that I would love to re-eat someday.
(Daniel Van Delft, the Netherlands)