Today was the preparatory, show-off-what-we-built festival for “Yamakasa” (sp?). Tomorrow, several groups on Iki will heft these truck-sized floats onto their shoulders and carry them to a shrine a kilometer or two away. As they travel, people will give them beer and toss water all over them.
I honestly have no idea what this festival is for. I’ve asked a few Japanese people and I get the usual, “Safety, good fishing, good family” or whatnot. I think it’s just an excuse to drink beer and show off the city’s cultural points. Several other cities in Japan (and by several, I mean dozens if not hundreds) also have this festival, including Fukuoka and Kyoto. However, these festivals occur at different times throughout July.
This is the back side of the float for the (in)famous Fertility Shrine in downtown Iki.