Sunday, September 18, 2016
You probably know what a Cat Cafe is, but do you know about a Japanese festival where hundreds of people run while carrying a float that the carpenters of said float jump around and have a grand ‘ole time on top of the moving float?
Probably not, but I didn’t know either.
Until I went to the festival.
And oh boy was it a lot more fun than I was anticipating. It’s called the Danjiri Festival and its an event held in Kishiwada each year. It was originally a festival to pray for an abundant harvest. And, even though that is not the case anymore, the festival is still held. If you want to learn more about the specifics of the festival, I recommend checking here.
The festival stretched from one station to another with the streets lined with food stalls and people eagerly awaiting the floats.
It was a bit anticlimactic at first with the first couple floats as they runners all had to get set up before the float could be pulled. But, as the festival went on, floats started appearing everywhere and before you realized it people were running and the float was charging past you at about the speed of a car on a residential street.
The energy of the event is indescribable. The people feed of the energy of the carpenters who spent so long making the float while the runners and carpenters feed off the energy of the people to keep their energy up for the four hours in the heat in humidity.
When the floats were waiting for the next street to clear up for them, some runners were given water while others went to the sidewalks and got food stall for food for free. Needless to say, the streets were littered with water bottles and food once the float left for its next road. But, closely behind the floats were lots of people helping to clean up the mess.
After a couple hours of watching the floats and walking around the area, a friend and I headed towards a cat cafe on a station on the way back to our dorms.
The cat cafe we went to was called “Save Cat Cafe” and was a small cafe that took in stray and unwanted cats, gave them a good place to live and interact with customers while customers with the intention of adopting a cat could meet the cats and adopt a cat if they were accepted.
I have no intention of adopting a cat while in Japan, but I want my money to go to supporting cats who are looking for a home.
All the cats were super friendly and most completely trusted me without sniffing my hand before letting me pet them. They were playful and knew the sound of the plastic holding their favorite kitty treats.
Opening the bag of kitty treats meant you would be swarmed with cats who now all of a sudden want to be your best friend. And, once you run out of treats, they all pretend they don’t care anymore.
It was adorable, but I quite missed my own cats in the process. I was a bit homesick on the way back, but overall, I had a very nice day and was glad I could see such a strange but unique festival along with support stray cats on their journey of finding a new adopted home.