Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Bringing out the big drum

On July 29 in the city of Uto in Kumamoto Japan (about a 90-minute drive from where Mellow Monk tea is grown), local stalwarts heaved a 900-pound taiko drum out of storage and down a steep, narrow flight of stone steps for a ceremony held once every three years at Tsubawara Hachimangu shrine.

The ceremony, which celebrates the end of rice planting and offers prayers for rain and a good harvest, dates back to the 1870s. It was discontinued after the war but revived in 1988—the 100th anniversary of the building of the drum used in the ceremony.

Here are more photos of the festival. As you can see, the stairway is fairly long, and it's a tight moving the drum through the arch.

If this endeavor doesn't justify the drinking of large quantities of sake at an afterparty, then I don't know what does.

—Mellow Monk

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