Tag Archives: hot springs

Dancing Center Stage

August Abandon Afoot

More midsummer fireworks lie loaded on the launchpad, if that’s your thing – Mizunami has their display tonight, as part of their 54th annual Mino Genji Tanabata Festival (a month after most other observances), featuring teams of dancers and taiko drummers on stage for the 16th year now. It takes place Friday through Sunday in front of Mizunami Station. Everyone is invited to hop into the frenzy of the parade. There’s also a “clay objêt” Toudo Festa competition, in which teams have a frenetic 48 hours to sculpt clay into whatever their imaginations can conjur up.

You could consider Mizunami’s Tanabata fest with its dancing a warmup for Nagoya’s 15th annual Nippon Domannaka Matsuri, or Domatsuri for short, to be held from August 23rd to 25th. Some 23,000 dancers on over 200 teams from all over Japan and the world will carouse and compete for championship original folk dance honors.

The only rules, according to the official website, are “each dancer must hold a naruko, or clapper, and … a melody from a local folk tune of the participants’ home area must be incorporated in the music.” As with Mizunami’s revelry, they encourage the audience to join in the dancing as a means of cross-cultural communication, and welcome last-minute entries without reservation, so to speak.

And as long as we’re on the subject of Nippon Domannaka (the very center of Japan), it’s not just figurative talk when people speak of our central location, or the logistical benefits of relocating the national capital to Gifu to help alleviate congestion in Tokyo.


Here’s a picture of Yasaka Station, the centralmost station in Japan, on the Nagaragawa Railway Etsumi-Nan Line. The diesel-powered single-car line, which you can use to get from Mino Ota on the Taita Line to Gujo (station photo below), also stops at the centralmost hot spring in the country, accessible directly from Manthatsamouthful Minamikodakaraonsen Station (station and spa are under the same roof). Of course the all-night trance-like dances at Gujo are for many a must-see, gotta-groove to thing this time of year as well…


…as is, for those who can bear to watch, the bridge-jumping, river-plunging tradition on the river you may be able to view from this walkway. I think they jump from the bridge just a few steps to the left of where I took this photo.


Just An Old-Fashioned Love Song

Word has gotten around that Mister Donut donuts are ¥100 today. Urgent news like that deserves all the bandwidth/forwarding/liking it can get, so without further fudging, frosting or filling, herewith I submit my belated bop of the bouncing-around beach ball of deep-fried diglyceride decadence. Get thee to a Misudo (in Tajimi, now only at the Valor near Tenko No Yu hot springs), and splurge on a baker’s dozen right this minute. Indulge yourself.

Sometimes such simple things, like a soul-soothing hisashiburi ni time spent with some people you care about last weekend over plain old Big Macs and fries, can make a world of difference in this crazy mixed-up woild. Be the fries French or American (Sorry, Louis, beautiful friendships and true valor aside, as far as potato picking, it seems the latter is an inalienable if not self-evident fact, according to Saturday’s conversation), vive la difference. (Sorry, I don’t expect anyone to understand the obscure references here. Indulge me). Anyway, whatever else may happen, we’ll always have last Saturday at McD’s. Here’s looking at you, kid.