DianaAn American used to study Japanese language in Japan.Involved in international exchange at the regional promotion division and working on various things such as planning events and internationalization.
Saijo Matsuri - One of the largest Danjiri festival in Ehime with 77 danjiri carts.
Diana is from the U.S. working at the city government of Saijo city in Ehime prefecture.
Diana is from the U.S. and working at the city government of Saijo city in Ehime prefecture. She is involved in various promotion type of works including planning events and interpretation. She is at the airport to pick up her mother visiting Japan for the first time, and has introduced us the city's one of the main events, "Saijo Festival". This traditional Saijo festival has been held for 300 years since the Edo era with 77 danjiri carts parading through the town until they reach the river in the end. She has kindly agreed to accept us to follow her in October for the festival! Saying good-bye for now till then.
Support the regional promotion involved in international exchange.
One week before the festival we visit Diana. She takes us to one of the sightseeing spots "Uchinuki", where groundwater is pumped to be drunk by the people in town. Apparently the water is pumped at 3,000 different places and it's super tasty. We are then headed to the city office where she works to find out what she does, supporting the regional promotion and involved in various works including event planning and internationalization.
Ukiyo-e is what made her like Japan.
Ukiyo-e calendar hung at home attracted her when she was 10 which made her like Japan. She was a talented student at university and spent 2 months in Japan for a language exchange on a scholarship. She then visited Japan 2 more times spending 1 year and a half in total. Moving to Hong Kong for a change made her tired of a big city and decide to move to Japan to work in a country side. She met some nice people in Saijo city while working as an international exchange advisor which made her decide to live and work here!
Her hobby "Yosakoi Dance".
She enjoys "Yosakoi Dance" as a hobby. She belongs to a club and practices it twice a week. We were lucky to be able to film her dancing at an event while following her.
No luck in weather on the day of the festival.
The weather isn't so pleasant on the day of the festival but it does not get cancelled. It's so popular that even the people who left the town would come back to be a part of it, more people in town than obon or new year's holiday!
77 danjiri carts parading through the town for 12km.
Day 1 of the festival, danjiri parades freely per community while mikoshi are parading through the town. The real festival starts on day 2 when all the danjiri are gathered at the mikoshi rest station. 77 danjiri carts start parading through the town for 12km! Most of the shops and schools are closed during the festival to have everyone enjoy this amazing occasion.
33 hours have passed without getting any sleep.
"Yoitosa-! Yoiyasa-!", Diana helps carrying a danjiri cart that weighs 700kg together with 20 other people. 33 hours have passed since the festival started, people are getting tired without getting any sleep but we're almost at the river!
A promise to participate again next year.
The festival is coming to an end, it is time for the "Kawairi". This time Diana gets to experience this for the first time. Mikoshi making through to the other side of the river means the festival is over. Danjiri carts are supposed to block the mikoshi in order to make the festival continue, the whole thing looks like the God and danjiri are having a party! Finally the mikoshi have made through to the other side of the river and the exciting 2-day festival is over. Diana makes a promise to come back again next year with everyone who carried the danjiri carts together. It's a wrap! Great to have experienced the amazing Saijo festival!