A year ago at this time, I was celebrating two six month anniversaries. No point in celebrating eighteen months, really, but Oktoberfest and the Hakata Tomyo (lantern) festival had come back around, and I wanted to go to both again, so it amounts to a celebration, kind of. A few folks who had never been to either were keen to go too, so a small group of us headed out to Oktoberfest while it was still daylight and enjoyed some really good beer (I had a Rauch Bock) and decent wurst. We chatted and listened to the polka music until the sun went down and it was time for lanterns. Once again, I was struck by how convivial the crowd was, despite the sheer volume of beer floating around. It’s a nice vibe.
Folks relied on me to get them to the lanterns, and thankfully I didn’t get us lost. First up was Kushida shrine, which was a couple of minutes’ walk from Oktoberfest. And then we wandered towards Gion, where we found lanterns lining most side streets, and eventually came out into a huge field of lanterns (behind Shoufuku-ji temple I think). Beautiful, but no way to see if there was a design or not. Did a bit more wandering around the side streets of Gion, then wrapped up at Touchou-ji temple for another big display.
The weather was perfect for strolling and enjoying the lanterns. And some day I’ll own a camera that can do them (and fireworks) justice.