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The coming of autumn to the Oshika Peninsula; Ogihama autumn festival takes place.

On September 9, an autumn festival took place at Ogihama in Oshika Peninsula. They say that people in the area slightly feel autumn coming when the Ogihama autumn festival takes place, because many other neighboring villages hold festivals in spring. Ogihama was deadly devastated by the tsunami on the heels of the Great East Japan Earthquake. A total of fourteen families (thirty people) whose houses have been swept away now live in temporary housing in Ogihama area, and others live away from Ogihama in temporary housing or rental housing provided by the government.

Mr. Fushimi, the representative of Shinto shrine---also chairs the steering committee of Fishery Cooperative Association---sent invitations to all the people who left Ogihama so that people may be able to use the festival as an opportunity to get together at Ogihama. On the festival day, many people who are away from Ogihama returned to see the festival.

【Photo: Ms. Esashi living in Ogihama temporary housing, Mr. Sugiura heading the ward of Samuraihama】

I heard that there are traditional practices in Ogihama shrine; "No women admitted", "No cries(Heave ho!) allowed when carrying a mikoshi(portable shrine)." The mikoshi carrier leaves his home with his mousse holding a sheet of paper between his teeth and is prohibited from making any sound until the festival is over---this year so many volunteers joined the festival that the practices were eased though---. The chief priest of Ogihama Shinto shrine, shrine parishioner and volunteers together made a visit to the shrine at the top of the flight of 206 steps. I hear the shrine is the highest in that area. The shrine commands an extensive prospect of the bay of Ogihama.

【Photo: View from the Shinto shrine】

【Photo: Shinto Shrine】

After having shrine rituals in the shrine compound, they walked down the flight and started preparing the mikoshi.
Local young people and volunteers followed the leading car loaded with a drum, carrying the mikoshi on their shoulders. On arriving at the sea, they loaded the mikoshi onto a ship and carried the Mikoshi by ship all the way around the bay of Ogihama, going back and winding through the town again.

【Photo: The mikoshi travels around the bay of Ogihama】

【Photo: The mikoshi winds through the town】
Last year the festival took place on a smaller scale, but it was thanks to the cooperation with many volunteers, organizations and people who had involved in Ogihama, including JEN that the community of Ogihama was able to hold the festival on as large a scale as pre-disaster festival.

The festival closed with mochimaki---scattering red and white rice cakes; a Shinto ritual to disperse evils---drawing cheers. It goes without saying that the festival was full of smiling faces of participants everywhere.

【Photo: Mochimaki before the Ogihama branch office】

【Photo: Scattered rice cakes】

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September 20, 2012 in Tohoku earthquake |