Sep 20, 2010

Dos and Don'ts at Yama Festival

There are several things that we as spectators need to keep in mind upon watching Kakunodate's Yama Festival. Knowing the following will help you to enhance the enjoyment.

NO CROSSING BEFORE THE PERFORMERS—When the Yama Floats are performing for family homes, businesses, and most importantly, the deities at the holy site, do not cross in front of the performers. If you want to take pictures, do it from the sides. Or ask for a permission, if you want the front. Crossing the front is considered against the traditional rule and extremely impolite.

NO DAMAGING THE IMPORTANT PROPERTIES— Pretty universal, right? Do not vandalize the important cultural properties including the buildings and the floats. Note that Kakunodate is designated by the national gorvenment as a Important Preservation Districts. It means you are prohibited to spit your gum, smoke, and litter in the area (especially on Bukeyashiki-dori, the Boulevard of the Samurai Residences.)

NO HUSTLING, NO RUSHING THE CRASH --As you see in the videos, a crash participants are required patience and physical endurance for extended hours. They also need to pay meticulous attention to every detail of the surroundings. No wonder they get pretty tensed up! Also, note that the massive float can seriously injure people. If things go wrong, one could lose a life.

The chargd-up participants could appear intimidating. The long hours of no significant change could irritate the participants and so are you. You might feel like yelling at them to hurry up.

But that could add more fuel to the fire! We need to remain calm and keep in mind that a sudden change could put them at risk at any moment. Stay cool.

There are certain traditional ways fixed in this festival. We need to respect and follow their ways. After all, what makes the Kakunodate Yama Festival more attractive is how the tradition is kept alive. So let it be... and LET US ENJOY!

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