Kitakami Photoblog

Daily photos from Kitakami, a small town in Northern Japan, and its surroundings.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Curious house

... I have not the slightest idea what it is, and what the strange shape is for.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A bouquet to all of you in the world

Engrish on a flower wrapping paper. English (and franponais as well) is very popular in Japan, whenever somebody wants to look his products modern and fancy.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Blue power shovel, enjoying a well deserved rest

In no other country I have been I saw as many power shovels as here in Japan.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Up and away

I'll be absent for a few days (we visit one of the most southern islands of Japan), so no new posts until Wednesday. I hope this seaside shot (an algae covered mole) will console you.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Cute army

Does Japan now try to make children join the army? Of course not; but this comic style is widely used for any kind of advertisement or promotion in Japan, even when addressing grownups. Not surprising, if you look at the country's manga culture.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Dogs day out

Three small dogs waiting for their owner on a supermarket parking lot.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Fascinating fire engine

A mother-and-child-group visits the Kitakami fire station.

Fire engine with the city's mascot as emblem.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Why are you looking at me like this?

Monday, May 21, 2007


... and dying starfishes on a fisherboat. Some of their smallest tentacles were still moving, but the rest was all dry already, too late to save them. I don't know why the fishermen don't put them right back into the water.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Big old house in the rain

Saturday, May 19, 2007

In a local handicraft shop

Even if you don't need these things, they're so nicely arranged that it's really hard to resist.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Forest understorey

And under the trees, Azaleas are blooming everywhere. This is definitely the best moment of the year to take a walk in the forest.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Old farmhouse in a mountain forest

At Michinoku folklorical village, Kitakami.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Girls in spring, 2

Slightly older, but still having fun with water.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Girls in spring

Just in case somebody is afraid: The smaller girl didn't fall into the fountain.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Having fun

Elderly people having a really good time at a picknick, dancing to japanese pop songs. I guess there were some bottles of sake involved, too.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Festival theme week, end.

To finish this local festival theme week, here some photos of people enjoying the parade:

Fireworkers on duty, but not seeming to mind:

She just made him get up from his sofa to come and watch the parade with her:

More colourful couple:

Green order and security men everywhere:

Severe jury: "Did you see her, she isn't doing her dance steps properly!"

The where more interested in themselves than in the parade:

And now I'll give you a rest - I will be away for the weekend and be back on Monday, then again with normal one-picture-posts.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Festival theme week, part 3

Today, I will show you some other groups participating at the procession.

Young girls' float:

Old men walking:

Everybody is proudly giving a hand:

Harmony in blue:

42-year-old women, giggling:

Float with full taiko drum power:

I still wonder how there could be spectators (and there were many!) - the whole town's population seemed to participate at the festival. Probably all visitors came from other cities.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Festival theme week, part 2

In Japan, the ages of 25 and 42 are considered as important and often hard ones, where you may have to take difficult decisions and which might be important turning points of your life.
At the Esashi jinku matsuri, the largest two performing groups where the one of the 25-year-old and the one of the 42-year-old; I have been told that it's not optional to participate for those belonging to one of these age-groups, but an obligation.
Both groups had a big float on which the musicians were sitting (all of them 42-year-old, too) and were performing in the streets of Esashi in the afternoon before the big procession as well as after, until late at night.
Taiko drummers.

Orchestra members.

42-year-old women...

... and men.

There are many 42-year-old inhabitants in Esashi!

Those who are not endued with musical or dancing skills have a less exciting duty.
Sorry for the picture overload, but I really liked this festival!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Festival theme week, part 1

I have so many nice pictures from last weeks festival that I decided to use at least some of them for a special theme week about this festival. (Although it's not exactly in Kitakami, but in the small neighbourtown Esashi, 10 km south. But Kitakami has a very similar festival in late summer.).

This festival, called jinku-matsuri (jinku means lively song, lively dance), is held during two days in early may, and probably every single inhabitant of the town is participating. The main event is a procession of dozens of groups (school, companies, banks, association and clubs, etc) including several thousand people parading through the city. The members of all groups are dressed in the same costume, and all those people perform the same dance to always the same song, the local festival anthem.

Mayor waiting for the procession to start. He is leading the group of dancers of the municipality.

A group of elderly ladies. Usually, these groups have the best dancers.

A group of bank clerks.

Housewifes dedicated to traffic safety.

Tomorrow, I'll show you the procession's special events.

For the sound of the festival, click here, here or here (I uploaded some short videos).

Monday, May 07, 2007

Carp family

Another custom of kodomo no hi is to raise the carp-shaped koinobori flags in front of the house. You see them all over Japan at this moment. The big black carp is the father, the smaller red one the mother - and then there is a small one for each boy; although some families now put one for each child.
The silk carps are also raised as decoration at lots of places, here at the cherry avenue along the Kitakami river.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Kodomo no hi

Yesterday was "Children's Day", a japanese national holiday. Until 1948, this day was only known as Boy's day. One of the customs of this day is to display sumptuos (and expensive) samurai accessories, usually a helmet (kabuto), but sometimes also swords and costumes, like on this photos.
This is on of the numerous kodomo no hi-arrangements sold in all department stores and some smaller shops specialised in such traditional stuff.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Local festival in Esashi

Photographer hunting for good motifs.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Liquor shop

... just a little run down.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Elderly people crossing

Cute, isn't it?

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Enough is enough

This is the last cherry blossom photo for this year, I promise.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

May theme day: City exchange

This month's theme is " Post a photo of another city (than yours)", so here it is - though it's not exactly a city, not even a village:
Fereriwo, a temporary settlement of Fulani semi nomadic herders, in the Sahel of Burkina Faso (West Africa).
I had the chance to do ethnobotanical field research there, spending every year 4 to 6 weeks at this place, during five years. It was a fantastic experience.

The women of Fereriwo. Fulani woman are said to be the most beautiful in this region.

At least 75 other city daily photo blogs participate in this theme day, why not pay them a visit? (Due to time difference they might not all be ready when you visit them.)

Monte Carlo, Monaco - Rome, Italy - Singapore, Singapore - Tenerife, Spain - Rotterdam, Netherlands - London, UK - Montréal (QC), Canada - Melbourne, Australia - Naples (FL), USA - Bastia, France - Hong Kong, China - Mazatlan, Mexico - Buenos Aeres, Argentina - Manila, Philippines - Arradon, France - Madison (WI), USA - Evry, France - Seoul, Korea - Shanghai, China - Bucaramanga (Santander), Colombia - Sequim (WA), USA - Singapore, Singapore - Budapest, Hungary - Baziège, France - Hamburg, Germany - Toruń, Poland - Nelson, New Zealand - Madison (WI), USA - Vantaa, Finland - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Mainz, Germany - Dubai, UAE - Saint Paul (MN), USA - Cork, Ireland - Stockholm, Sweden - Menton, France - Tel Aviv, Israel - Albuquerque (NM), USA - Kitakami, Japan - Stayton (OR), USA - Szentes, Hungary - Stavanger, Norway - Grenoble, France - Villigen, Switzerland - Paris, France - Hyde, UK - Moscow, Russia - Joplin (MO), USA - Jakarta, Indonesia - Greenville (SC), USA - Cape Town, South Africa - Asheville (NC), USA - Seattle (WA), USA - Kyoto, Japan - Tokyo, Japan - Madrid, Spain - Auckland, New Zealand - Oulu, Finland - Lubbock (TX), USA - Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina - Baton Rouge (LA), USA - Sydney, Australia - Maple Ridge (BC), Canada - Vancouver, Canada - Seattle (WA), USA - Selma (AL), USA - Chandler (AZ), USA - Sharon (CT), USA - Manila, Philippines - Lyon, France - New York City (NY), USA - Los Angeles (CA), USA - Brookville (OH), USA - Hayle, UK - Wailea (HI), USA - Saarbrücken, Germany - San Diego (CA), USA - Boston (MA), USA - Saint Louis (MO), USA - Cypress (TX), USA