Tanabata Festival and restored Usuiso Beach in Iwaki, August 8th, 2019. (いわきの七夕まつりと再開した薄磯海水浴場、2019年8月8日。)

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(Iwaki Tanabata Festival, Iwaki, August 8, 2019. いわき七夕まつり いわき 8/8/2019)
Today was another hot mid-summer day in Fukushima. Iwaki Tanabata Festival or the Star Festival took place at the main streets in front of JR Iwaki Station. A number of large tanabata decorations swayed as they were hung above the crowds as shown in the picture above. Well known Sendai Tanabata Festival was also being held on the same day in Miyagi Prefecture, but please be reminded that this local tanbata festival was also great.
今日も、福島県は暑い真夏の日でした。いわき駅前の通りでは、いわき七夕まつりが開催され、写真のような七夕飾りが多数風に舞いました。宮城の仙台七夕まつりが有名ですが、いわきの地元の方々のこのお祭りも盛大です。

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(Iwaki Tanabata Festival, Iwaki, August 8, 2019. いわき七夕まつり いわき 8/8/2019)
Some other photos of today were shown in the pictures above. There were many kinds of them.
七夕飾りは、写真のようにたくさんの種類がありました。

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(Usuiso Beach, Iwaki, August 8, 2019. 薄磯海水浴場 いわき 8/8/2019)
In the meantime, more beaches along the Pacific coast reopened in this season (a total of 7) as the reconstruction work of seawalls and access roads were completed after they were destructed by the Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami in 2011. Usuiso beach was one of them, which reopened in 2017, and which was located right next to a landmark Shioyazaki Lighthouse as shown in a picture above. Although not so many people were on the beach today, still, many local families were enjoying sunbathing and swimming.
一方で、この夏更に多くの海水浴場が福島の浜通りで再開(全7カ所)しました。2011年の東日本大震災で壊れた防潮堤や道路の再建が完成したからです。薄磯海水浴場(2017年再開)もその1つで、ランドマークの塩屋崎灯台のすぐとなりにあります。本日は、地元の家族連れが多く来て楽しんでいました。

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Usuiso district was severely hit by the tsunami at the time and today new seawalls were built and also new disaster prevention forest belt higher than the seawall was added in the inland area as shown above. The young trees have just started to grow.
震災当時、薄磯地区は津波の大被害がありましたが、現在新たな防潮堤が完成し、その内陸側に更に高い防災緑地(写真)ができて、まだ若いですが木が生長しつつあります。

The exact route and locations are shown in the map below. The map can be scaled up and down with a click and scroll.
ルートと場所は、下の地図を参照ください。地図は、クリックとスクロールで、拡大・縮小が可能です。
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Nomakake, the last event for Soma-nomaoi Festival at Odaka, July 29, 2019. (野馬懸、相馬野馬追の最後の日です、2019年7月29日。)

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(Driving a bare horse at Nomakake, Odaka, July 29, 2019. 野馬懸の野馬追 小高 7/29/2019)
Today I was one of the large spectators at Nomakake, the last day event for 3-day Soma-nomaoi Festival in Soma region. Nomakake retains the very original style of the Soma-nomaoi, which was originated in military exercise in 900’s started by ancestors of Soma clan. At that time, wild horses were released as mock enemy. Today, three unsaddled horses were once released, one at a time, and then several mounted horsemen drove the horse into a corral in front of Soma Odaka Shrine. After all the three horses were driven into the corral, then several men, called Okobito, wearing white Shinto clothing and headband tried to catch the horses with their bare hands. Once the horse was captured, then it was offered to the shrine, where guardian god for Soma clan was enshrined. Photo above shows a horseman leading a bare white horse along a slope toward the corral.
本日は、相馬野馬追の最後のイベント、野馬懸を見ました。野馬懸は、900年代に相馬家の祖先が始めた相馬野馬追の原型を残している行事です。当時、軍事訓練で野馬を敵に見立てたのが始まりです。今日では、3頭の野馬が1頭ずつ放たれ、騎馬武者達が小高神社前の敷地に追い込みます。そのあと、白装束と白はちまきをした「御小人」達が、素手で野馬を捕まえようとします。捕らえられた馬は、相馬家の氏神が祀られている神社に奉納されます。写真は、騎馬武者が白い野馬を導いて坂を登る姿です。

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(Conch shell horn blowers at Nomakake, Odaka, July 29, 2019. 野馬懸 の ホラ貝吹き 小高 7/29/2019)
Right before the horse driving began, conch shell horn blowers, as shown above, came in the middle of the slope to signal a start. You may see the closer view of the conch shell here.
馬の追い込みが始まる直前には、写真のように、ホラ貝吹きが坂の中間にきて、合図の準備をします。ホラ貝の形がよく見えます。

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After the bare horse led by a mounted horseman, several chaser horsemen followed, as shown above, running up the hill.
野馬の後には、写真のように、数人の騎馬武者が追って駆け上がってきます。

By watching a short footage below, you may feel the atmosphere of the scene of driving a horse up the hill. This was of the second horse drive.
下の極短いビデオを見ると、野馬を追い込むシーンの雰囲気が少しわかると思います。
これは、2番目の野馬でした。


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In the last drive, an unsaddled horse chased by mounted horsemen from behind barely crashed into spectators’ area as shown above. (No one was injured.)
最後の野馬の場合は、写真のように見物客の極近くまで迫り、危ういところでした。(問題ありませんでした。)

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(Chasing bare horses at Nomakake, Odaka, July 29, 2019. 野馬懸 の 野馬追 小高 7/29/2019)
Photo above was a scene that three horses driven into the field in front of the shrine are trying to escape from Okobito men in white shrine suits trying to catch them.
写真は、3頭の野馬が神社前の囲い敷地で、白装束の「御小人」達に捕まえられないように、逃げている場面です。

And here is a very short video that a young Okobito man tried to catch a horse but finally failed at this time. You may feel the atmosphere.
下の極短いビデオでは、1人の御小人が野馬を捕らえかけましたが、最後は失敗しました。雰囲気がわかると思います。


During the first and second days of Soma-nomaoi Festival, I attended a group as a translator. But the last day was free and I stayed overnight there and visited this event for the first time. The event venue was Soma Odaka Shrine which was located 20-minute walk from JR Odaka Station.
相馬野馬追の最初の2日は、あるグループの通訳ガイドでした。しかし、最終日はフリーとなり野馬懸を初めて見ました。会場は、JR小高駅から徒歩20分の相馬小高神社です。
(お客の数は、前日より減りましたが、会場ぎっしりでした。)

The exact route and locations are shown in the map below. The map can be scaled up and down with a click and scroll. GPS data for a part of the section from Odaka Station was missing due to slow detection of my GPS device, so I added a line on the map.
ルートと場所は、下の地図を参照ください。地図は、クリックとスクロールで、拡大・縮小が可能です。但し、小高駅から少しの間、GPSデータが無く(機械の反応が遅く)地図上に線で補足しました。
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Tohoku Kizuna Festival parade in Fukushima, June 1-2, 2019. (東北絆まつり福島 2019年6月1-2日)

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Tohoku Kizuna Festival took place during June 1st and 2nd at Fukushima City, where six major festival floats and dances from each of the six Tohoku prefectures showed their performance in one place. This was a good chance to experience those at one time and I was one of a large number of spectators at the venue. The parade played out mainly on a section of national route 4 where car traffic was shut out. The photo shows a gigantic float of the famous Nebuta Festival from Aomori Prefecture. The figure was of a legendary general of samurai Minamotono-Yoshiie. One of his battlegrounds was Fukushima some 900 years ago and there are many places in the prefecture even today that shows his traces. The float, which was 9 meters wide, 5 meters tall, and weighed 4 tons, was newly created for this occasion.
東北絆まつりが、6月1日から2日間、福島市で行われました。東北6県の夏祭りが同時に見られ、私も大勢の見物客の1人でした。パレードは、主に国道6号を貸切り行われました。写真は、青森ねぶたの大きな山車です。今回は,源義家(八幡太郎義家)が題材です。約900年前、福島のあちこちでも活躍した武将で、今日でも各所にその痕跡が残っています。このねぶたは、幅9m、高さ5m、重さ4tで、今回初めて作られたものです。

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Fukushima showed off its Waraji Festival parade which was renovated for this year. Waraji means a straw sandal and the gigantic waraji was carried by many local people. Some of the scenes were shown above. In the top picture Fukushima City mayor was on top of the waraji. There appeared a smaller and golden waraji as shown in the bottom picture.
福島は、わらじまつりを披露しました。今回少し新しくしたもので、上の写真には福島市長が乗っています。また、下の写真には金の子わらじが担がれています。

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Kanto parade, where large vertical bamboo poles each with nearly 50 lanterns were supported by hand, forehead, or shoulder walked along the way as shown above, came from Akita Prefecture. Highly trained skill was needed to keep taking balance of the lantern poles with winds blowing from all the directions.
秋田の竿燈まつりは、写真のように、50近い提灯をつるした竹竿が、手のひらや、額、肩などでバランスをとりつつ支えられ、何台も行進します。風の強さや向きが変わるなか大変な訓練と技術が要るようです。

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Yamagata Hanagasa dance parade went along the way with so many locals dancing with sedge hat, decorated with colorful flowers, in their hands as shown above.
山形の花笠踊りは、写真のように、色とりどりの花で飾られた笠を持ちながらの踊りです。

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Morioka Sansa dance parade from Iwate prefecture came along with people carrying and beating a portable drum on each waste as shown above.
岩手県からの盛岡さんさ踊りは、写真のように、太鼓を抱え演奏しながらの行進です。

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Lastly, Sendai Suzume dance from Miyagi Prefecture came along, as shown above, with each carrying unfolded sensu fan decorated colorfully.
最後は、宮城県からの仙台すずめ踊りです。写真のように、色とりどりの扇子をかざしながらの踊りでした。

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And this picture above was of the last joint parade expressing gratitude to the world for helping recovery of the region from 2011 earthquake disaster.
写真は、バレード最終の共同行進で、世界に向かって東日本大震災からの復興支援の感謝を伝えるものでした。

The following very short videos each for Aomori Nebuta, Fukushima Waraji, and Akita Kanto may help giving you a sense of atmosphere at the venue.
以下に、青森ねぶた、福島わらじ、秋田竿燈の順に、極短いビデオを載せました。場の雰囲気が少しわかります。






Each of the regional festivals is scheduled to be held in early August this year as shown in the website http://tohoku-kizunamatsuri.jp/en/festival/.
東北各地での今年の夏祭りは、8月初旬の予定で、詳しくは公式サイトをご参照ください。http://tohoku-kizunamatsuri.jp/festival/

The exact route and locations are shown in the map below. The map can be scaled up and down with a click and scroll.
ルートと場所は、下の地図を参照ください。地図は、クリックとスクロールで、拡大・縮小が可能です。
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A man who loves Fukushima (福島大好きおじさん)

Author:A man who loves Fukushima (福島大好きおじさん)
Local guide for Fukushima (English)(福島地域通訳案内士(英語))
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