23rd Sep. 1992. One of my best memories of Ohtsuchi (the first time round) was the Autumn Festival in 1992 (exactly 19 years to the day prior to my visit this year). I was invited to participate in the Omikoshi (portable shrine carrying) team. This basically meant carrying a dead-weight on my shoulder around town for a day. The downside was that I was at least 4 inches taller than anybody else on the team which meant my shoulder took most of the weight and I ended up with a bruise that lasted 3 weeks. The upside was that we stopped every 20 minutes or so at the next watering hole and were plied with beer at each one! The final act of the day was to take the shrine into the sea within Ohtsuchi fishing harbour to pay our respects to the sea kami (I still haven’t located those photos but will keep on looking).. The festival went on late into the evening with multiple performances of Ohtsuchi’s famous Tora-mae (Tiger Dance). It was also the first time I met several of my students outside of school.
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