Last night was the start of the Bon festival. My little village of Goma held a Bon Odori in front of the train station for people to come down to. It seems like most of the village was probably there. As far as I can tell, the Bon festival is when the dead come back to the living world for some reason for a few days. The Bon Odori is a song and dance which is performed as some kind of ritual, I think. All the performers danced around in a circle, around a central platform where someone was continuously singing, for about 3 and a half hours. Anyone was welcome to join, so I did for a bit, after a bit of coaxing from the locals. It was a bit of fun, and everyone loved seeing the crazy white guy give it a go. People definitely know who I am here. About one minute after I sat down with something to eat, some little kid approached me and started talking to me. As soon as I started talking to him, I was suddenly surrounded by a ton of people all grinning and nodding at me. I desperately tried to use what little Japanese I know, but luckily people were quite excited about hearing me speak English, and attempting to speak English themselves. It was really quite cute. Someone would say “Hello” to me, or “Good Ebening” (they struggle with the “V” sound), and when I replied, they looked ecstatic and grinned away. The younger children went running away, shy.
They’re all very friendly here. There was a pool at one side, which was filled with balloons partly filled with water. I’m not sure what they were for, but children could attempt to hook them out and collect them. They seemed to be very happy when they got one. One little girl gave me her balloon as a present, which was very nice. And one group of children told me that this was my new home now. How nice 🙂