What could have been another fairly normal Sunday of sleeping, walking around, going to arcades, and making fun of Chicken Heads instead turned into another slightly strange yet sweet Japanese festival.
Checked out the Sanja Festival (三社祭) in Asakusa, one of the major Tokyo summer festivals, which has been going on since Edo times, I believe. It also happens to be a festival that the local yakuza actually take part in, and you can see them riding on the mikoshi floats, almost completely naked to show off their full-body tattoos. Although seeing a bunch of old Japanese guys wearing nothing but a sweat rag to cover their balls might not seem like entertainment, it was pretty cool to see the yak tattoos. Not so much the buttcracks. I’ve got a bunch of pictures from the festival like the above one, which I’ll upload someday on my Pictures page. For now, I uploaded 2 short videos on YouTube from the festival. They’re both from the same mikoshi float, but different sides of it.
The first is of some crazy looking older yaks, most likely high-ups of some kind. Especially the guy in the black coat with the permed and orange hair. The second has 3 nearly naked guys covered in tattoos. They’re all somehow standing up on a float that is being carried and bounced up and down by a group of people. It must be nauseating riding that thing.
You can see, kind of, from the videos how loud and crazy this festival was. Of course I only saw a bit of it on Sunday, the last day of the 3-day event, but it was packed full of people and there were tons of onlookers following each mikoshi as they paraded up and down the streets. People were cheering and clapping for the yaks on the mikoshi like they were national heroes. Maybe they kind of are. I’ll bet that if the police or something had a festival, people wouldn’t be nearly as happy. And there wouldn’t be any sweet clapping in rhythm.