so, like last year, we went to rachel's house to see the nakatsu gion festival. we actually drove to nakatsu on saturday afternoon and stayed the night with rachel and her family. that meant i got to help out preparing for the party! we stayed up late chopping veggies while having a couple of beers, and taste-testing the gion cocktail rachel made up (it was yummy!) as usual, the pictures tell (most of) the story:

first up, a cake that amy made. as in, she made the cake from scratch, cut it out, made and colored the frosting and then decorated it. it looks like a gion-guruma, isn't it fabulous?? and, it tasted great, too! yum!!

gion guruma cake

this was taken fairly early in the morning (before 10). amy, sasha, erica and hiro had on festival attire, but lena didn't want to wear a yukata and i forgot tommy's jimbei at home! amy broke out the yogurt and jam and suddenly there was silence. it was nice.

quiet before the party

preparing for guests to arrive:

preparing for guests

tammy's son andrew with amy

andrew has arrived!

group hug (and can i just say that amy's photo smile has gotten gorgeous?!?)

group hug!

waiting for the first guruma (and i asked sasha to knock off the peace sign thing, and she did a pretty good job for the rest of the day!)

at the matsuri

first guruma

sasha's kinda like, who are these weird guys??

taking a picture

so much food!

party food!

obi and bow

guruma detail

then, dancers!


suddenly, one of the old fellas in this 'town' (for the guruma) took off his coat and belt and put it on hiro:



if you check out the blog post from last year, i'm pretty sure the little kid in front of the coke machine is the same one who was begging his mom for a drink last year.

take a picture

one more

lucky hiro

ok, ok, this is getting long. more dancers!

next dancer

pose with a fan





sasha wants to be a dancer on the gion-guruma. maybe someday!

with sasha


fan up


happy to finish

then it was the end, and the mikoshi came by, followed by a man being pulled in a rickshaw.



and at last, the shrine priest

and that was it! we had to leave early because it was also the kindy's summer festival yesterday. such a busy day!! but the kids still got to splash in the pool and we enjoyed the great food. thanks for having us, rachel!

two (very) short videos of a couple of dances.

surprisingly, these aren't all the photos i posted to flickr. check them out!