Narita Taiko Matsuri (Narita Drum Festival)Tokyo, Spring 2009
The Narita Drum Festival was a blast! Narita itself is a very cute village outside of Tokyo, which was a nice change of pace from the metropolitan lifestyle. The Temple was absolutely beautiful, and we even got to join in the Temple's daily service: the Goma rite. Basically it's a Buddhist service where every one can attend and is conducted several times during the day to pray to Fudomyoo, the main deity of Naritasan Temple. The main priest burns Gomasticks with various burn offerings in order to extinguish human's earthly passions and to bring us to a higher state of mind. I guess part of the rite is where one of the priests suddenly grabs the public's bags and "throws" them into the fire in order to symbolize this. (It was pretty surprising the first time because I actually thought the priest was going to throw people's bags into it!)
I tried to stick around for the main event at the Great Main Hall, but it doesn't really help that I'm short and there was a massive crowd. I watched part of it though and it was pretty amazing. They had an eight-year old playing and when they interviewed her she kept talking about how much fun playing the taiko was for her. It was too precious. =) The event itself was pretty intense; I never realized how much energy is required to play this kind of instrument! Power to all the taiko players out there!
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