Kitano Jinja festival

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For two weeks, a tinsel draped signboard at the end of our street has reminded us about the Kitano Jinja matsuri around the corner from us. Saturday 8/24, 5-9 pm. Rain or Shine. The main selling point was "Dad, we'll have beer at good prices!"

By 8 pm, the lanterns leading up the stone stairs to the shrine cast a soft red light on the scene. Things were winding down and some of the food stalls were closed but the beer stand was going strong with a very long line. Kids were catching cicadas with a net and squealing as loudly as the bugs; teenagers were shoving one another in play fights. Moms, seated on wooden benches under pergolas of bamboo and bare bulbs watched the kids and nibbled on yakisoba. Every available seat was taken and there wasn't much room to stand so we made a quick circuit, skipped the beer and walked back home.

We saw fireworks peeking above the skyline to the west--one of the nearby towns is having their hanabitaikai tonight. I stood on the veranda and watched the sky glow pink and green as booms echoed against the mountains and sprinkles of lights popped over the sillhouette of buildings.

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