The past few days have been Obon, one of the 2 times in the Japanese year when many people leave the cities and return to their hometowns. At Obon, the dead, the ancestors, are honored. Graves are cleaned and every community holds the Obon dance known as Bon Odori.
In our village Bon Odori is accompanied by a small matsuri. There are only a handful of stalls, but they are manned by locals, so the prices are lower and quality higher than at a big town matsuri.
Before the dance the local Kagura group performed for a couple of hours.
In one dance a troop of monkeys leave the stage area and terrorize the children in the audience. Older kids have fun, but I saw several very young kids burst into tears of fright.
For the dance itself, the singers and drummer are atop a small tower in the centre of the grounds, and the community dances in a circle around it.
The song sounds very mournful, and I was surprised to see the singer reading the lyrics from a sheaf of papers, but apparently there are over 300 verses to the song, and they change each year.