The Summer of Festival Vendors
It is July, the season of the morning glory market, one of Tokyo's summer traditions. Morning glory is a relatively easy flower to breed new varieties. In the past, many gardeners bred new species every year. At night, the hustle and bustle of the festival heats up. Many stalls line the street. Allured by the delicious smell of food being cooked, and the somewhat dubious appeal of the stalls, even more people start to gather. Street vendors are an indispensable part of Japanese summer festivals. But with the lack of successors, their numbers are declining.
Souls of Ancestors
Bon in Japan is a period in summer when the souls of ancestors return to this world. Fireworks serve as a landmark for the souls to return home without getting lost. Many families go and pay their respects at ancestral graves during this season.
This is Tsukudajima, located at the mouth of the Sumida River. On a summer night, the sound of drums and a singing voice like a prayer can be heard. This is the "Nenbutsu Dance" or the Buddhist Chant Dance. With a 300-year history, it is a dance that is designated as an Intangible Cultural Property by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. The dance involves a unique gesture where the hand and foot on the same side are moved at the same time. This dance was originally meant to appease the souls of the deceased that return for Bon.