interlude – Ohtsuchi Festival 1992

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.

All dressed up and ready for action…. Outside my house in Ohtsuchi
The Festival begins. Descending from Ohtsuchi Shrine into town
Taking the weight… (but still smiling)
Taking a breather
Following the Omikoshi along Ohtsuchi Main Street
Kaoru-san (if my memory serves me right)
I have no idea who this is but I liked him because he was the only other ‘tall’ person on the team and therefore, took some of the weight of my shoulder!
Everybody wanted to arm-wrestle the foreigner!
Back on duty..
The whole Omikoshi team
Celebrations and Tger Dancing go on into the night
More Tiger Dancing
Ohtsuchi High School students including Kumi (centre) who was one of identical triplets in my English class. She would often swop clothes with her sisters to fool the teachers! Also, Megumi (far left) and Yoshiko 
Another of my triplets, Rumi, and boyfriend at B-Cafe (?) on Ohtsuchi Main Street with mama-san, Mi-chan. This is where I learned most of my Japanese after 9pm
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