Rainbow Festival, Third Day

Clear blue skies blessed the third day of the Rainbow Festival at Aso Mountain. Here’s a better view of Tako Matsui’s fabulous handpainted giant carp windsocks.

Coming back from my morning walk, I could see how much the camp had grown. It covered almost the entire meadow.

I put on my festival t-shirt and a gauzy skirt handmade by my friend Mayumi Hirai, and went out in the sunshine to meet new friends.

Mikiko lettered signs for my window, so people would know when my performance would be, and what I had for sale in the cabin. In Japan, the adopted English words used to mean “performance” or “show” are “live” and “stage,” as in “When is your live?”

Most of the European-descent people I met at the festival were from Australia and New Zealand, including Andy and Jen, who come to the Japan for the music festivals each summer. I coveted Andy’s t-shirt that says “I’m a legend in Japan.” He told me I could find them online at American Eagle. I couldn’t.

Drum circles now formed both day and night, all over camp.

Rows of gift and clothing shops, cafes, bakeries, tea shops, and restaurants of many ethnicities lined the meadow.

The bamboo geodesic dome housed a shop selling treats made from hemp seed. The proprietor and her child posed for me in front.

Yu was dancing in a loin cloth printed with cannabis leaves, and his friend wore the dread locks of the Jamaican ganja culture, but I did not smell a whiff of pot anywhere at the festival. Japan has very strict laws about drugs, and no Japanese freaks want to arouse the interest of the police. And, for their part, the police politely stayed away from the Rainbow Festival, which was not the case at Burning Man or the Rainbow Gathering in the USA recently.

Indigo tie-dying and printing has an ancient history in Japan. Modern crafters like this one apply it to t-shirts as well as the traditional banners and kimono.

My hostess for the concert and workshop I am planning to do in June in Morioka, a beautiful forested community in the north of Honshu island, makes hemp rope sandals, and she silk screens t-shirts.

At mid-day, people began to gather around the main stage for the day’s performances.

Futaro (in the orange pants and black hat), a lead guitarist, singer and songwriter who lives near the site of the festival, and who will play in my band the next day, fronted a band including Daisuke, the bass player for my band, and Auta, the drum prodigy son of festival organizers Roku and Tako Matsui. Another child, younger than Auta, played hand percussion with them, and well, I might add. They put on a great show and the audience danced like crazy. Futaro cracked jokes in between songs that made them roar with laughter, and made me want to learn his language.

The audience, with the tent village and Aso Mountain behind them.

I had Thai food for lunch again, this time from another booth. Both had delicious curries, not at all similar.

Sayako, former lead singer of Zelda, the all-girl punk band that Sachiho lead for 17 years, has her own band now, and a forest spirit look, vibe and message. She wears a headdress in the ancient style of the Haida tribe from Hokkaido. She dances, drums on a djembe, plays a whistle, and conjures respect for the earth as she sings.

The stage, lit up at light.

The Minami Masato band, with a cast of thousands.