Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Blue Impulse

Hubby and I went to see Tohoku Rokkonsai Festival in Akita City on 30th May. Tohoku Rokkonsai Festival has become established as one of the greatest annual events wishing for the restoration of Tohoku region following the Great East Japan earthquake as the years go by. The festival is held in a different Tohoku city each year. This year it was held for the fifth consecutive year and was held in Akita City. It was held for two days on 30th and 31st May. The main event of Tohoku Rokkonsai Festival was a parade of floats, dancers, musicians, and other performers from six major participating festivals (details in the next post) of various prefectures of Tohoku region. On the day we visited the festival site, the parade was held in the evening at about 4.30 pm. However there were many events scheduled throughout the day. There were several entertainment stage events, exhibitions of various food and local products of Tohoku region, and public relations booths of the six participating festivals. In addition, many food stalls were set up selling various local food products of Akita prefecture.

On 30th May we went to Akita City by our car, and reached near the Tohoku Rokkonsai Festival site in the city at about 12.30 pm. We parked our car at a car parking area near Akita Railway Station and walked up to the festival site. We had parked our car at the eastern end of the station, and so we had to walk inside the railway station concourse and again come out from the western end. While walking through the station concourse, we saw that many huge posters advertising the festival were put up inside the station. Many festival related staff gave away free pamphlets to the people. We came out from the western end of the railway station and started walking along Nakakouji Arcade. We saw a huge crowd of people walking along the arcade. The arcade was decorated in a festive mood for the festival. Many colorful streamers of Sendai City’s Tanabata Festival hung from the glass ceiling of the arcade. The exhibition of the colorful streamers was superb.
I am standing next to a poster of Tohoku Rokkonsai Festival put up inside Akita Railway Station concourse

Huge crowd of people walking along Nakakouji Arcade located next to the railway station

I am standing at Nakakouji Arcade

Many colorful streamers of Tanabata Festival hanging from the glass ceiling of the arcade

We continued walking along a road for about twenty minutes and reached a food plaza site named ‘Akita Umaimono Hiroba’ located at Nakadori area of the city. We saw a few stalls selling local Sake, Inaniwa Udon, and Kiritanpo which are the specialty of Akita prefecture. Many stalls selling local handicrafts and souvenirs, as well as the festival related items were also set up. We tried a few local snacks which were delicious. However all the seats at the site were full of visitors and we could not find a place to sit and relax. So after having the snacks we continued walking towards the main site of the festival.
The entrance area of the food plaza site ‘Akita Umaimono Hiroba’ located at Nakadori area of Akita City

I am standing at the food plaza site

I am searching for a place to sit and relax at the food plaza

Next while walking, we saw another food plaza site which was also named ‘Akita Umaimono Hiroba’ located at Omachi area of the city. This food plaza was located at mid point between the railway station and the main site of the festival parade. The plaza was huge and had many food stalls. There was seating arrangement for about 700 visitors. We could easily find a place to sit and relax. Many local snacks and foods including beer, Yokote Yakisoba, Ramen, and Babahera ice cream were sold here. We had Yokote Yakisoba, a huge round sausage coil on a skewer, and a huge Kanikama on a skewer. We also had Kakigori and cold drinks. It was fun to eat and relax at the site of the food plaza.
Food plaza site ‘Akita Umaimono Hiroba’ located at Omachi area of Akita City

Another view of the food plaza site

Hubby standing at the food plaza

I am having a huge round sausage coil on a skewer

I am eating a huge Kanikama on a skewer

Hubby having Yokote Yakisoba

Hubby having Kakigori

Hubby relaxing

While relaxing at the food plaza site in Omachi area, we realized that it was already 3.10 pm. Soon afterwards a wonderful aerobatic demonstration by Blue Impulse started. Blue Impulse is the aerobatic display team of the Japan Air Self Defense Force. The Blue Impulse team consists of seven Kawasaki T-4 training aircrafts painted in white and blue colors. Only six of these subsonic intermediate jet trainer aircrafts perform at demonstrations. The aircrafts of the team are each equipped with white, red, blue, and yellow smoke systems. The team consists of 11 pilots and about 30 ground crews, and its home base is Matsushima Airbase. To mark the occasion of Tohoku Rokkonsai Festival, the Blue Impulse flight team flew over the festival site. The team performed stunning aerobatics in the sky overhead as people enjoyed the festivities. The tightly choreographed aerobatics, thunderous sounds, and magnificent smoke effects thrilled the crowd. Since it was a very windy day and the wind currents were strong, the integrity of some of the smoke trail patterns was destroyed quickly. Anyway, we absolutely enjoyed the aerobatic performance by the Blue Impulse team. It was a bit nostalgic for me as the show reminded me of the Indian Air Force Day (8th October) aerobatic performance that I used to annually attend during my childhood days. This is because my father is a retired Indian Air Force personnel, and all those years ago viewing many practice sessions and the final aerobatic display on the Air Force Day was a sort of annual ritual for our family. Although the Indian Air Force aerobatic performance used to be held on a very much grander scale (no idea of the present situation), I was once again reminded of those happy childhood days seeing the performance of the Blue Impulse aerobatic display team. The Blue Impulse team performed the show for about 30 minutes, and below are some of the photos of the wonderful aerobatic demonstrations by the team.
The Blue Impulse show begins

A few photos of the wonderful aerobatic demonstrations by the Blue Impulse team

Formation of a smoke trail pattern

Formation of another smoke trail pattern

Formation of yet another smoke trail pattern (heart)

The amazing aerobatic demonstrations continued for about 30 minutes

At about 4.15 pm we left the food plaza site in Omachi area and started walking towards the main parade site of Tohoku Rokkonsai Festival. We walked along a road named Kantou Odori which was closed to vehicular traffic that day. It was a unique experience to walk along such a huge road with only pedestrians all around us. On our way, we saw a few dance performers in colorful costumes all ready to participate in the parade. After about 20 minutes of walking we reached the main site of the parade. We found a good place to stand and waited for the six major (Tohoku Rokkonsai) participating festivals to begin their parade. I will write about the parade details in the next post.
I am walking along Kantou Odori Road

On our way we saw a few dance performers in colorful costumes

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