Thursday, April 03, 2008

the weirdest festival i ever loved

many cultures have fertility festivals, right? right.
i was convinced (internally kicking and screaming) to attend the hōnen matsuri, or "fruitful year" festival, more accurately dubbed the penis festival. what can i say? curiosity got the better of me, but i was expecting lewd and obnoxious behavior from the crowd, so i planned to hang back and pretend like i just happened to be four hours north of my home on a saturday morning.
feeling silly getting off the train, i trudged after the streams of people with angie and kjersten, but i was soon disarmed by the atmosphere. i think everyone, japanese and foreigner alike, were just curious and a bit shy at the prospect of facing the centerpiece of the festival: a ten foot long wooden penis-in-a-shrine (much like pigs-in-a-blanket). naturally i had to take a picture with it. who would believe me?
the side view.

up close and personal.

the tough part behind us, we descended on the food booths with passion. never in my life have i met a potato i didn't love, and never before had i met a potato i loved more than the fried spiral potatoes i found there.

the memorable sculpted, chocolate-covered bananas.

my favorite part of the festival was definitely just sitting in the sun watching sheepish japanese guys suck on their blue penis-shaped suckers.

a grinning old man took polaroids of us with the impressive phallus which printed on mickey mouse paper, naturally. walt disney turns over in his grave.

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