Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Having booked my stay at a Buddhist Temple in Kyoto a couple weeks in advance, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I had scheduled myself there for Setsubun. More festivals, this time to celebrate the coming of spring! Commence calling Groundhog Day America's Setsubun.
From what I gathered, demons must be scared away by throwing roasted soy beans at them. And everyone must crowd into a tiny space and either also be pelted with soy beans, or purchase festival food. And a man must shoot an arrow into the crowd. Hopefully it is caught and does not poke anyone's eye out.
Other than Setsubun, this was pretty much the most tourist-y trip I have ever taken in my life. On Sunday, I befriended a young tourist couple and tagged along for a show at Gion Corner in which they crammed ~8 Japanese arts into one hour. There was ikebana going on while a tea ceremony was being performed in the corner. There was a short play, an orchestra, and a Maiko dancing. It was a lot to take in. And may or may not have ended with me getting dressed up in a kimono on stage. I seriously wish the audience was more forthcoming with the volunteerism.
It turns out I missed a few spots from being distracted by Setsubun. I guess I'll just have to brave that 1 hour train ride again, and hit what I missed!