WOW! We saw one of the biggest and brightest and loudest parades ever last night! Aomori is at the northern end of the main island of Japan, right on the sea. Each summer there is a week-long festival of parades and special events and we went to Aomori to see the festival. We rode the train from Misawa and got of into a large crowd of people. There were all kinds of people selling food and souvenirs and costumes and fancy hats as we walked to the place where we could watch the parade. Tens of thousands of people lined the parade route to see the bands and dancers and floats.
Everything was spectacular! There were huge drums that you could hear coming for blocks. There were bands of flute and cymbal players. There were hundreds of dancers with each float and the floats were enormous and all lit up with bright colors and fantastic figures. All of the floats are pulled along the parade route by people who lift heavy beams and pull the carts and floats. There are even people whose job it is to pull carts with barrels of water and dippers for the workers to get a drink during the parade.
Everyone can join in the dancing. Even tiny children and babies are dressed in costumes and allowed to take part. It is a wonderful celebration filled with lots of bright colors. The hats that people wear are amazing and fun, covered with birds and flowers and bells.