Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Kanamara Matsuri

Yesterday was unseasonably hot (25 degrees) and the cherry blossoms were in full bloom, so I sneaked away from my work to visit the yearly Kanamara Matsuri in Kawasaki. Though I've known about this fertility festival for years, it was actually my first time as it involves a) knowing the exact day (turns out to be the first Sunday in April), b) fair weather (last year it was raining heavily), c) not having to work like crazy to meet a Monday morning deadline (a common problem), and particularly d) having to get up rather early in the morning in order not to miss the parade.
Phallic shrines and related festivals are not that uncommon in Japan (or the rest of Asia) but nowhere else have I seen such a shockingly pink specimen. Apart from the parade, the festival had a surf band loudly announcing 「今年もチンポコ祭りが来たぞ!」, suggestively shaped candy, hula dancers, cross dressers, carved radishes, and all the usual matsuri food and drinks. Immensely popular with foreigners (I too felt like a tourist for a change, hence this entry in English), it's also a big hit among Japanese of all ages and genders. Well, the pictures below speak for themselves.
("Kanamara", by the way, translates as "Steely Dick", as it were, in contrast to the famous literary dildo Steely Dan, which was from neighboring Yokohama.)

(This entry was written while listening to Phallus Dei by Amon Düül II - what else?)

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