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Onishi is a part of Fujioka, but as it was annexed quite recently, people still tend to think of it as its own town. I rather think that despite the fact that it is part of Fujioka, most people think down on it a bit. It is a bit further in the mountains, and doesn’t have a train station. But it is surrounded by really beautiful mountains, and is cooler than Fujioka since it is higher, so I think it would be a nice place to live!

Onishi’s junior high school employs a private ALT, so we don’t ever meet them at the JET orientations or activities usually. Luckily, Simone came to Terry’s party so we were able to meet! I hope she enjoys Onishi and stays… Onishi has a pretty high turnover for ALT’s.

Anyway, no way was I wearing yukata again, so it didn’t take long to dress and get there. We parked at one of Kenji’s teacher’s houses and walked to the festival, then met Simone somewhere along the main street. After that it was wandering around and finding different yummy things to eat, and also saying “hi” to the occasional Nishi or Higashi student we saw! Finally it was time for the main event… BATTLE OF THE DASHI! Dashi are floats drawn by people. They have a small group of musicians inside playing taiko and shakuhachi, and usually a few young men on top waving lanterns. Each had their own entrance preceded by a burst of fireworks, then all 5 came close together across from the mayor in the main square and had a music fight! It was exciting, but had to be tiring after awhile… I know I was tired of getting pressed by tons of people! They finally stopped, the mayor made a speech, and then they each retreated. It was fun!

Walking to the main street

Views of the matsuri

Fireworks signal the entrance of a dashi… each neighborhood has one.

dashi FIGHT!

Lantern holders keep the crowds back

Here’s a video of some of it!