The adventures of Alishan and its crew during the summer months of 2005
The people in
one of the Yamakasa teams.
This is what the web tells about the festival:
Hakata Gion Yamakasa is an annual summer festival held from July 1 to 15 by Kushida Shrine in
In 1241, to drive away an epidemic in Hakata, a high-ranking priest was carried by local residents around the town on a shelf and sprinkled holy water along the way. The Hakata Gion Yamakasa of today evolved from this event.
A Yamakasa is a portable shrine to carry a deity during a festival. There are two types: the Kazariyamakasa (decorated floats) and Kakiyamakasa (carried floats).
Kazariyamakasa are enormous, about 16 m (17.5 yd.) high. They are decorated with magnificent dolls that illustrate various historical or legendary tales. During the festival they are displayed in different parts of the city, where people can enjoy looking at them.
By contrast, the Kakiyamakasa are only 5 to 6 m (about 6 yd.) high, but weigh close to a ton. Seven floats are made for the festival and on the final day they appear in a race known as Oyama
At the climax of the festival, local teams carry the Kakiyamakasa and race at full speed along a 5 km (3.1 miles) course. At 4:59 a.m., with the beat of a drum, the first team departs from Kushida Shrine, carrying their Kakiyamakasa, with the others following at 5 minute intervals. The teams compete to complete the course in the fastest time. Despite the early start, the spectacle attracts 850,000 tourists from all over
Every year its a great honor to be able to take part in this Japanese festival as it is a very special way to experience some real Japanese traditions .
The 2 weeks prior to the Oyama is full of practice races and ceremonies. Not all is easy to understand for a westerner, but that makes it so super exotic.
Hope to be able to run again next year: Oissa Oissa!
The annual rainy season (from June till mid July) started late this year and when it finally rained, it wasnt too bad. There were luckily no big floods like last year.
The end of the rainy season is always celebrated with some Big Firework Displays and
it was time for our 3 week summer holiday. Wow 3 weeks in a row of no work! A First in our 10 years in
So what did we do?
First we sailed to
There we had a great time with our Korean cruising friends.
Sailing back to Nihon was Superb. The Windpilot steered Alishan all the way, doing 7~8 knots.
Checking back into
We had everything well prepared. We had given the Japan Coastguard all the needed info way in advance and they still felt they had to email us twice for more details while we were in
Oops what a watertight system.
Anyway, after half a day of paperwork we were ready for a big meal of sushi.
Alishan stayed 3 days in port for it was Obon time (another Japanese festival) and we definitely wanted to see the final big firework display right at our front door. The day after, on August 16th we sailed to Hagi, a small town in Yamaguchi prefecture, 90 miles NE from
In Hagi the only marina wanted $ 50/night for tying along side a concrete wall, with no acses to water and no electra. There is definitely something wrong there.
We left right away and Alishan found a nice corner in a commercial fishing harbor, along a same sort of concrete wall, but for free and with daily fresh fish from the fishermen. Thanks a lot guys!
Hagi city is a beautiful old castle town. This is what I found on the web:
Although many of the current major cities in
During the tumultuous closing years of the Edo period when the feudal system was collapsing, the town of
Too bad there was a typhoon spooking around to the SE of Japan with no indication if it would go NW or NE. To be on the safe side, we decided to sail back to
And that was the end of our short summer cruise. Day by day, mile by mile we get more confidence in Alishan and are really looking forward to our ETD.
Still having days off from work Jaap joined the crew on board of Sumie Maru (our Sunday morning fish market boat) and was so lucky to be able to help with a BIG catch. Wow, exciting! Every time the net is pulled in you could tell it was full, but with what?
That day we caught lots and lots of kisu, small, but very tasty fish that goes for a high price at the municipal fish market, all the way in
September came and
We got neighbors in the pond. Meridian Passage with Jeany and Merv from our old hometown Whangarei in NZ. How nice. Apart from just the gezelligheid we really needed an upgrade in our English speaking companions, since wed started conversing in that Japanese kind of Pidgin.
Soon after they were settled in we got a direct hit by typhoon NABI. At first max wind was slightly over 40 knots. Not much. The center went right over the top of us and we had almost 1 hour of center-silence. That, with the apparent lack of very strong winds fooled some people into thinking the storm had disintegrated, but after the eye it hit us with double force: 65 knots. That was the only taiphoon that affected us this year, what a contrast with last year.
One week later we flew for a weekend to
Then Japie ran the Fukuoka City Half Marathon (again hothot this year) and finished within the time limit of 2 hours. Banzai.
One rainy Sunday we hiked around in the mountains just to the south of us. Due to the landslides caused by the rain and/or the earthquakes we werent sure of the trail and it took us 7 hours to return to our car, despite the perfect directions this friendly farmer had given us.
We hiked from the far left mountain top to Mt Raizan on the right.
Not much work done here. It was way too hot and somehow the list doesnt seem that long. Just for this moment ;-)) I should say.
Hmm Oh yes. We cleaned the strainer of the shower pump, mounted a new swim ladder on the platform, installed 2 new house batteries, did an oil job on the generator and varnished the toe rail ( 2x 43 feet all 5times = a long way). Thats all.