Saturday, 4 August 2012

Day 7 Japan trip.

Day 7 I was fortunate enough to find myself in town for the Tanabe Festival, you will have to forgive me for not knowing the whole story about the festival but it has something to do with local religion and getting rid of bad spirits. There was so much color and noise it was amazing to be there for. Lucky for me I had a couple of personal tour guides for the day with Kotaro and Mr. Hiraiwa.

We first walked to a part of town that I think locals would rarely see westerners, Tanabe is a small fishing town unlike the Tokyo's and the Osaka's so seeing westerners in town is one thing but to be walking down back streets and small housing estates is another, from whispers it seemed as though most thought I was an American. I dare say that many would not have met a westerner full stop let alone an Australian.

We positioned ourselves in a place where we could clearly see the precession of people and man drawn carriages that were converted to shrines, bearing in mind that the temperature was in excess of 30 degrees Celsius these people were really busting their arses dragging these monstrous timber structures up and down the streets and you could see the sweat pouring off them as they made their way through the streets.

After watching the shrines make there way to the main temple in town we had a few hours spare until the festival kicks off in full speed so we made our way to the Gan Craft Factory a small trip out of town. A lot of folks ask me to justify the price of some products in the fishing game and after making a visit to the factory my reasons are more than justified. We already know that they work better than a cheaper alternative and that they last a lot longer, we also know that the attention to detail by the original designer of most high end products to ensure that they look better than a cheaper alternative. After seeing the factory the quality point is what sticks in my mind the most now Every Gan Craft lure in the factory is hand painted, they are assembled by hand and then packaged by hand, every point of hand contact with the product is another point of quality control. Some companies label their products as made in Japan, sadly most of them are not as only a small amount of original product actually comes from Japan, now having been in the place where they were making them I can say for a fact that they are made in Japan as I was there watching them being made.

After the factory tour and as part of the festival theme we then made our way to a temple very close the the office of Gan Craft, this place was built about 400 years ago and still stands today, a truly spectacular place to visit. I will not try and explain my visit to you as it will not justify what I saw, however the images down the page will give it a better wrap than I ever could.

For lunch we had Ramen (I think) how good id this stuff, it's a bit like a noodle soup but better, most people do not finish the entire soup portion of the meal but I could not help myself it was amazing, then to top things off a plate of Gyoza. Nothing beats Gyoza.

We had some down time so we made our way back to the office to relax a bit before dinner and the festival goes into full swing and a rest I needed, things had been so full on that it was nice to kick back a bit and just watch the time go and watch Mr Hiraiwa work on some new lures he is designing, that in itself is worth the entire trip, being able to sit in company with a lure designing guru play with new ideas and designs is priceless. It was getting close to dinner time and the festival peak was getting near so it was back to the hotel for a scrub up and then out to dinner.

Like always I was spoiled rotten at dinner, steak, gyoza, whale tonkatsu and all sorts, just as we were half way through the festival precession was just about to run past the restaurant so we all headed outside for a look. I thought it was pretty amazing during the day but the dark of night made this thing all the more spectacular. Before heading back inside it was decided that I go for a walk down the road to have a look what was happening in the festival area. Talk about a smack in the face with some local culture. A beautiful sight and a lasting memory. Enjoy the pics.