Amazing festivals symbolize Japan

There are roughly 8 areas in Japan. One of them, Tohoku area that is made up of 6 prefectures will become special in summer. Each prefecture has its unique summer festival and hold it in summer at the same time. Looking, feeling and atmosphere are all different to each other. Today I'll show you two of them. I'd like you to go see such wonderful, elegant and enchanting festivals.

1. Nebuta festival in Aomori prefecture

Speaking of the festival of Aomori, it's Nebuta festival. People walk in city pushing, pulling and sometimes spinning Nebuta to look like it's really moving. Nebuta is made from many parts with lots of work. The frame is made from wood, wires and string. When the frame is finished, stick on washi paper and paint it with a special ink. They say it takes around 3 month to make it. You'll get amazed by Nebuta made by lots of effort of them. You can be part of Nebuta festival as a danccer called haneto. You can sing a song and dance in haneto costume in the festival. Together make the festival more excited!

2. Kantou festival in Akita prefecture

In this festival, people lift up a long bamboo pole with many lanterns in different ways. It is said that the pole means rice plant and the festival goes for rice field gods. They lift the pole with their hands, shoulders, forehead or hips. Some skillful people do another thing such as spinning Japanese umbrella while lifting it. Amazing, isn't it? In addition, they add another bamboo pole to the one while lifting. You can see incredible technique of them. There's nothing quite like Kantou festival. The scene of when all the pole stand up at the same time is really fantastic. The pole is really heavier than its look. A bigger one is about 50kg, but people lift it up with the part of their body. On top of that, while they are lifting it, they hand it out to another people without dropping it. I'm sure you'll be absorbed in a beautiful sight of many lanterns in the sky, but don't forget to watch amazing techniques of skillful people as well.

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日本の東北地方と呼ばれる6県では、毎年夏になると一斉に夏祭りが行われます。それぞれ、県を代表するお祭りを持っていて雰囲気、迫力も全然異なります。今回はそのうちの2つのお祭りをご紹介します。とても素晴らしいお祭りなので、ぜひ見に行って欲しいです。

1.ねぶた祭り in 青森県

青森県のお祭りと言えば!ねぶた祭りです。和紙と針金を使って大きな模型を作り内側から光を照らします。ねぶた祭りの始まりはランタンとも言われています。横に長いねぶたを何人かでひっぱり、街を歩きます。時には観覧席に向かっていったり、時にはその場で回転させたりすることで迫力と臨場感を出します。そしてなんと!ねぶた祭りでは”はねと”と呼ばれる踊り子がいて、私たち観光客もはねとの一員になれるんです!衣装を来て「ラッセーラー!」と言いながら街中を歩くのはとても楽しいですよ。

2.竿燈祭り in 秋田県

このお祭りでは提灯たくさんが付いた竹の棒を持ち上げます。ただ持ち上げる…だけではありません。持ち上げながら、竹の棒を継ぎ足していくんです!竹の棒がしなりながらも、落ちずにバランスを保って持ち上げるのは職人技です。手のひらで持ち上げたり、おでこ、腰、肩などで持ち上げる方もいらっしゃいます。合図と共に、一斉に上がる提灯の光景は感動します。しかも、提灯が付いた竹の棒、見かけによらずとても重いんですよ…大きいもので重さ50キロもあるんだとか。それを、体の一点だけで支えているんです。本当に職人技です。さらにすごいのが、長く重い竹の棒を落とさずに次の人に回していきます。また、腰で支えながら踊る人もいます。とにかくすごいのです。思わず提灯ばかり見てしまいますが、持ち上げている職人さんにも注目してみましょう!職人技に脱帽です。

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