Monday, August 5, 2013

Midnight train to Yamagata and the Yamagata dance festival

Midnight train
So to just recap yesterdays happenings real quick, I took and went to the ferry in Yakushima to go towards Kagoshima where I was suposed to board my train towards Okayama where I would change trains to the night train towards Tokyo where I would once more change trains to the shinkansen taking me to Yamagata.

On the boat I met a (a bit drunken) young japanese guy who started talking to me. We got along and he seemed to be intrested in the stories I had about Finland and he actualy was intrested in the Winter war of Finland. He knew a inportant figure of the war which according to him was a popular person and hero on the japanese sight Ni-chan, simmilar to 4-chan. (google it).

He was also aparently once asosiated with the Yakuza and he had some pictures of the boss and some subordinates (some with fingers cut of!!!). So typical me right, getting all friendly with the mafia of Japan, just like in Tokyo. ahahah Here I want to point out that I have no actual afiliations and contacts to the Yakuza (japanese mafia), but have just happened to run into them.

That being said we took a cab together to the Kagishima-Chuo terminal and said our goodbyes there.
I boarded the train and that was it. I was on my way to Okayama.
The midnight train was 30 minutes late because of some accident somewhere and I had to of course wait for it which was so numbing to the sences.

Finally I was on the train and of towards Tokyo.
When I finally arrived to Yamagata I went straigth to leave my luggage to the coin locker and asked the station info if I could leave it there to the next morning. It is aparently possible but you have to pay a fee the next day to get your stuff out. Fine with me!

So I then had still 6 hours before the festival would start so I walked around a bit without a destination and went back to the station to a Starbucks and then I rented a bike and started my little search for the Internet cafe I was going to stay at tonight. There were suposedly 3 or more in Yamagata but later searches showed that only 2 verified ones existed.

I went to one of them to use the internet and after finishing I returned the rented bike to the station and continued to the festival area to wait.

It started raining, of course, but nobody cared. The dance started and it was amazing! The music was catchy, people were yelling along with the preformers and claping their hands to the beat of the Taiko drums.
The womens dresses were beautiful and the mens were handsome. There were over 4000 dancers forming from different gorups, performing in different collors and clothing.

It lasts around 4 hours but I only watched the first 2 and then left to eat and to get to the internet cafe by foot.
This is where I will end my day today and I am glad that I came to see this festival. In Aomori I will likewise be seing the Aomori Nebuta festival finale which will have fireworks .
The internet cafes are good last minute resorts for people who could not find accommodation in their city in time or it is too expencive there. Many internet cafes have even shovers and booths with bedlike sofas.
So that is a good tip for you guys who might find yourselves without a place to sleep in Japan.

Cheers
Robert