On Saturday, my son and I went to Ujisato Summer Festival, a local summer festival, for the first time in four years. It was canceled in 2021 and 2020, and we were in England in 2019.
When they decided to hold the festival a few months ago the pandemic was almost over, but in the last few weeks the situation suddenly had gotten worse, and nobody expected the festival to be held under a tight measure like this. We all had our temperature measured and sanitized our hands at the entrance. The mask was mandatory inside the venue even though it was outdoor. We were only allowed to eat and drink at the designated area.
We might as well not hold the festival in this case, but I suppose it was difficult for the board to cancel it since it would have been the third time to cancel. We had to cancel Hino Festival in May, the town’s main festival, for the third time already, so, many people were looking forward to it even more so.
My son was looking forward to it, and he had been excited about it for a week.
We usually have fireworks and Bon Odori, a Japanese-style circle dance, and they are typical of our summer cultural scenes.
Bon Odori is unique in each region and Shiga Prefecture has Goshu Ondo.
I am still not used to it since I am not from Shiga. I am more used to Tokyo Ondo.
Ujisato Festival is the summer festival of the entire town and it was held in the parking lot of the town hall. We also have Noryosai in each area within the town. My area is called Nisi Oji and we had our Noryosai last weekend.
Kids are looking forward to those summer events, and also senior citizens usually enjoy them. From my generation onward, younger people don’t care so much if the events are canceled, we have many other entertainment choices. But for older people, these events were the only social occasions when they were young, especially in the countryside, and they have been very much part of their community life.
In the video Seven Longevity Secrets of Nagano, the King of Japanese Blue Zones, I introduced that Ikigai was one of their secrets, and it was related to their community life. Nagano has the largest number of community centers in Japan and that meant most people had an access to a community center nearby, and they could participate in local events to communicate with others.
Yes, this kind of summer festival is Ikigai for the seniors.