Saturday, June 2, 2007

Hachioji Matsuri

In Japan, the oppressive heat of the summer makes day-to-day existence unbearable. The Japanese have found an excellent method to alleviate the misery of hot and muggy afternoons by relaxing with chilled beer, wearing comfortable cotton dresses, dancing to the beat of heavy drums, eating at outdoor stalls, and mingling with friends and strangers alike. Hachioji, a semi-rural, sleepy suburb of Tokyo, springs to life on such a summer Matsuri. Here is a poem that captures the atmosphere and the spirit of a Hachioji Matsuri.

In the middle of the summer heat
Thousands of yukata-clad women
Dance to the slow beat of Hachioji song
Along the koshu kaido,
While children eat
Steamed potato with butter,
Finding the new-found freedom
All too exciting.

August 2006, Hachioji

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