Sunday, May 8, 2011

Hiroshima Flower Festival

The Hiroshima flower festival is held on 3rd, 4th and 5th of May every year. I was fortunate to visit this time. Held at and around the Peace Memorial park near the A-bomb dome, it is a treat I am sure many people wait for. Flowers are lined up all around the park. Huge human size paper cranes are displayed on the lawns overlooking the Sadako memorial. Yes, she is the same girl who believed that she would be cured of the after effects of radiation if she could complete making a thousand paper cranes. She could not and died. This story became famous after the WW2 bombing of Hiroshima. Now people from around the world visit her memorial and gift paper cranes in her memory. The roads are blocked for traffic and people in colorful dresses dance as tableaus appear occasionally.
Of course there are many foreigners and Japanese girls in the wildest dresses imaginable. The latter remind me of Harajuku in Tokyo.
This year too the festival was carried out in full splendour with a lot of pomp and show. I enjoyed at the festival, ate a lot at the food stalls lining the roads and also had candyfloss (a rare treat I sometimes offer myself). A lot of people around started staring though, probably thinking of me as another eccentric foreigner eating something meant for kids! The candyfloss was a bit too sweet. I washed it down with some green tea and then had buttered potatoes (boiled potatoes with a huge helping of dripping butter). The Enka guitar band of elderly men was enchanting. So were some of the youngsters. Some of them were kind enough to allow me to take pictures of their costumes. The magic show by an OB of Economics department of Hiroshima University was thrilling and so was the band of wind instruments played by junior high school girls.
I came back a bit tired and contented and although I had fun, perhaps the festival was a bit too loud for this year after the tsunami disaster being labelled as the worst calamity to have struck Japan after the WW2 bombings. Or perhaps I am being a bit cynical as many economists could tell you that spending money is the best way to revive a stuttering economy...

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