Last weekend we had a “practice” for Haru-yon, Minato’s pillar at Shimosha. It will be the lead pillar of the festival there on April 8th. This day all the different groups gathered at Funatama Shrine for a mock run-through, pulling the hashira along the old Kamakura highway and then up into the hills a bit before returning to the shrine. It was a good reminder that hauling pillars engages a different set of muscles than what you use day-to-day. I also learned the futility of trying to take photos while in the midst of the action. Anyway, the scenery of the Suwa Basin is nice.
And we were treated to some stellar Kiyari singing as well, particularly from Hitomi Hanaoka, one of the new generation doing the old traditions proud.