After I almost bought a stuffed monkey in the gift shop at the top of the Tokyo Municipal Government building, I took the elevator back down and wandered around the well planned and finely manicured streets of the “skyscraper district” in Shinjuku. The crosswalk signals make an electronic chirping noise when it’s time to cross the street.

As I was wandering I heard a commotion. I’ve always been a big fan of commotions, so I decided to go see what this Japanese commotion was all about. I came across about fifty people or so, all dressed up in some sort of traditional-looking costume, standing together in a tight group and holding a small shrine up in the air. They were semi-marching very slowly, chanting very loudly, and rhythmically shaking the shrine as they did so — I had no idea what this was about, but it was interesting, perhaps made moreso because of my confusion. I watched them for a while, took some pictures, looked around for someone to explain it all to me, and noticed that some of the men weren’t wearing underwear under their white miniskirtish things.


I found out later that they were probably practicing for a Mikoshi festival, which is a Shintoist tradition. I ended up in the middle of a huge Mikoshi festival on Sunday, so I’ll write on this again when I get there.

2 comments to commotion

  • I woke up one early Sunday morning with a Mikoshi practice going on in the parking lot of my apartment building. They kept marching in circles around the neighborhood convenience store and Pachinko parlor, all 10 or so of them and two maybe spouses clapping on the side of the road, before finally marching back up the street and through the persimmon orchard from whence they apparently came.

  • Anonymous

    Do you speak english?????

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