This past weekend, as I mentioned before, Zach came to Nagoya. I had the task of being his tour guide, which was kind of nice, because it gave me someone to do some site-seeing with (the locals, just like back home, take local landmarks for granted).
We met up Saturday morning around 10 at Nagoya Station. After a brief discussion we decided on three things to do: visit Midland Square (tallest building in Nagoya) and check out the view of the city; go to Nagoya Castle, where they were having a samurai parade and battle re-enactment (which was not nearly as cool as it sounds); and travel to Gifu (the neighboring prefecture) for the Fire Festival, which just happened to be going on Saturday night.
The Fire Festival was just as crazy as the name implies. Basically, a bunch of “bare-chested, sake-fueled men” (as the article read) carried around portable shrine things making lots of noise — typical Japanese festival stuff, but with the addition of fireworks being shot into the air, lighting up lanterns and sending ashes and sparks down on the aforementioned bare-chested men. There were also lots of booths set up selling various food and souvenir items. Zach got a bbq squid on a stick and I bought a huge bbq sausage on a stick; there were lots of things on sticks, now that I think of it. There were also lots of people.
Anyway, here are some photos and videos from Midland Square, Nagoya Castle and even Gifu (where it was too dark and far from the action to get good video on a cell phone but if you look carefully you may see some of those bare-chested men dancing beneath the flames).
Nagoya Castle and the surrounding cityscape,
as seen from Midland Square:
Fierce-looking samurai warriors:
Me! At the Castle:
Me again! On top of a replica of one of the
“Golden Dolphins” that adorn the top of the outside of the Castle:
More fierce samurai. Myself included:
Zach and his squid-stick:
The craziness just getting started in Gifu:
Lanterns on FIRE!
Going up the elevator at Midland Squre:
Taiko drummers at the Castle:
Craziness at the Fire Festival: