Anyway, have some random purikura pictures from a million years ago (I'm really unclear on why Blogger highlights things randomly):
(These were taken during Louki's birthday. Someone had the smart idea of picking the ~sparkly eyes~ setting, which, uh, made our eyes sparkly. These are some of the less disturbing results.)
(Also, for anyone who can't read Japanese, our names are written on our foreheads, so we have:
Meredith (purple), Gitari (pink; that's his nickname), Ashley (light blue), Grace (blue), Hali (yellow), me (green), Louki (red), and Mariko (dark purple-ish).)
(Also, I totally stole this picture from Mariko because I am a THIEF.)
ANYWAY, Sunday was the summer festival at Gosha Shrine! And I am all about summer festivals, so I headed on over.
Fortunately, it wasn't raining!
Unfortunately, that meant it was about a million degrees at 8:30 in the morning and everyone just wanted to go home and hide in dark holes.
A bunch of stands were already set up when I arrived:
They had a stand selling a bunch of used clothes and dishes and books.
This, by the way, is the shrine office where I have calligraphy class! And since the doors were open, you can now see the beautiful interior~
There was a short purification ceremony that mostly only the soudai and the performers participated in, and then a girl sang a song and then Nakano-san's daughters (who are the shrines' miko) performed a dance.
And then the main performances started.
So this was at about ten in the morning. As you can probably tell, it was CROWDED.
The next group of performers were a bunch of little girls from a baton-twirling school.
They were kind of adorable, in the way that small children who never turn the correct way generally are.
There was also a group of older girls who were performing.
(This was the oldest group of girls.)
Tambourines are batons, right?
And then the little kids came back with pom-poms...
This was literally all that I could think of...
The next group of performers was a storytelling troupe...
They set up a tent so that they wouldn't die in the baking sun.
Unfortunately, their entire audience was dying in the baking sun instead...
Unfortunately, they were having some serious microphone feedback issues...
They told the story of Susanoo and Yamato no Orochi and also the story of Okuninushi and the rabbit. Definitely the best version of the Yamato no Orochi story I've ever heard. It was so exciting! (Apparently I was one of the few people who actually enjoyed it, 'cause a bunch of middle schoolers told Nakano-san that it was boring. Ohhhh dear.)
One of the older women at the festival turned to me after the story was over and said, "...are you actually interested in these kinds of stories?" to which I had to respond, "YES," because who ISN'T into stories about Susanoo fighting a giant dragon with his future-wife-turned-into-a-comb in his hair?
So then I bummed around the shrine for a bit longer, talked to some people, and
A bunch of kids were shooting each other with water pistols, much to Nakano-san's consternation.
This random guy was selling vegetables...?
These kids were selling homegrown grilled corn.
...this was the line for ice cream.
It was really hot, okay?
Aaaand here's the front of the shrine, where all the special lanterns were hanging.
So, yeah, that was the festival!
On Tuesday it was Pay 1,000 Yen for Movies Day, so I went to see the new Spiderman movie! It was interesting. I feel like there were some things that were definitely better than the old version, but there were things that were definitely worse. It's much closer to the original canon, which...isn't...necessarily...a good thing. I also feel like it didn't come together as well as the old version, 'cause there were some things that were giant question marks at the beginning and still giant question marks at the end. Gwen is kind of amazing, though (although I have a lot of FEELINGS about her last scene, bah).
I had calligraphy class yesterday, and Itou-san dropped by,* which led to the largest concentration of Shinto-nerding I have ever seen in a small single room. We had a big, long discussion about how kids weren't considered human until they turned 7 in the Edo period, and how that led to a lot of interesting stuff like legal infanticide and shortened funerals for kids. Hurrah for interesting discussions!
And then I went home and submitted all my papers for Fulbright except for my research paper, which is 15.5k and still growing uggggggh. I need to turn it in within the next week, so I'm just trying to clean up what I have right now and hoping that it turns into something semi-coherent. I think right now I'm only missing the conclusion and some transitions in the middle, so it's not a huge amount of work left...
In final news, remember how I decided to fly out of Tokyo so that A) I could have my exit interview face-to-face rather than over the phone (I HATE PHONE CALLS, especially extended ones; it's so hard for me to figure out what's being said without being able to see the other person) and B) I could FINALLY go see the Ghibli Museum? Well, within the last 24 hours I just found out that Dr. Satterwhite, who does the exit interviews, will not be available when I was planning on being in Tokyo, so I have to do a phone interview, AND that the Ghibli Museum is sold out of tickets until mid-August. AUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGH. Excuse me while I flip over the UNIVERSE. I am fairly sure that I am going to wind up going to the Ghibli Museum when I'm a million years old at this rate. WHY? WHYYYYYY? So now I'm trying to figure out when to go up to Tokyo. BAH.
Well, I should get back to my paper...gosh...
*Why she dropped by is a long story involving a guy giving her a bunch of calligraphy sets years and years ago and telling her to give them to foreign students...? Oh, and then she's supposed to take a picture when she gives them to the foreign students and send him a picture so that he knows that the set is going to a good home. And apparently she hasn't managed to pawn all of them off yet, so when she found out that I've been taking calligraphy she was like, "YOU ARE TAKING ONE OF THESE." So I got a calligraphy set! Thank you, mysterious benefactor man!
EDIT: Oh my gosh, I just went to check keywords people have used to find my blog, and, uh: