|"Grown in a cradle of the rough waves
of Genkai Sea,
With a lullaby of storms of Matsura
A genuine Karatsu boy I am!"
This is a song sung proudly by the
pull the festival floats around the
on the 3rd and 4th of November.
This Festival is called Karatsu Kunchi,
is so famous and popular all over Japan.
Half a million people visit Karatsu
these days and also on the 2nd of November,
when we have the Evening Parade.
Here is what Ms Margaret Price wrote
famous book 'Classic Japanese Inns & Country Gateways':
Karatsu-ites living all over the country
will do anything to come home for the
Kunchi, the city's annual festival.
a time when every household prepares
and opens its doors to everyone else
spirit that is not unlike Christmas
West. The Yoyokaku prepares a feast
and gathers all the inn's guests and
into a candle-lit tatami room featuring
spectacular spread of festive dishes.
centerpiece is a huge fish called ara, a great delicacy which can run to several thousand dollars for a large
specimen. The inn also has a musicians come by and play flutes and drums,
after they have finished participating in the festival processions.
Well, we don't use candles anymore,
boys have grown up and they are not
to our place to play the flutes and
any longer, but we still have the special
exhilaration around our Kunchi banquet
The smell of the barrel of Sake, laughters
and clapping hands, friendly talks
And drinking and drinking!
When I hear the flutes and drums of
I always remember an American girl
to love Karatsu-Kunchi as much as the
people do. Her name was Elisabeth.
coming to Karatsu, not to see the Kunchi,
but to participate in Kunchi. Her enthusiasm
moved the men deeply and she was at
accepted as a member of Gofukumachi
which is a really rare thing for a
and also for an foreigner
I have not heard from her for long
she went to Moscow or somewhere I don't
exactly, so this year I tried to search
name on the internet. And I did find
Here's her answer to my e-mail of asking
if she was the girl I used to know.
Yes, I am the Elisabeth you used to know!
How wonderful to
from you! The last news I had about
elegant Yoyokaku was some years ago,
Each year, as the
start to change color in the October
I think of how Okunchi is just around
corner and remember the wonderful years
I was able to travel your way each
I often think of you and Den and of
family. Do you know -- how are they
My parents are well,
older, of course. We live just a few
away from them, which is a great treat
having lived far apart for so many
I think you also have met my sister
She is fine, too, now living with her
and two little daughters in Washington
I don't know if
have heard, but we now have three children
--all boys -- ages 9, 6 and 2. Naturally,
I think I would love to bring them
someday. When my eldest was just 3
old, I imagined how thrilling he would
it to ride in the Gofukumachi float, tucked under the
kabuto, crowding in with the other
ones. But time flies, and already he
no longer be considered for that cozy
He would have to do his part on the
Please tell me how
is going for you. There have been many
in Japan since we lived there, and
am sure that in many ways, it remains
I hope this
you and Den well and preparing for
holiday. My thoughts will be with you
And yes, I
-- how wonderful the world of the internet
| Mr. Shinozaki Elisabeth Harumi
Okochi, back in 198x
Elisabeth, I hope you and your family
see this web-page, and I hope your
boys will know how much their Mom was
by the people of Karatsu. We all miss
You must come back to pull the Float
see the pictures of all 14 floats of
Kunchi, please click here.