My time in Japan has come to a close, and so I spent my last night in Chikugo attending this festival:
The Daijayama Fire Festival features huge, dragon-shaped floats that breathe fire and are ridden by boys and men playing instruments and shooting fireworks. Children help adults pull the floats along the streets, and women follow along, dancing energetically. It was a terrific, lively festival that lasted for many hours into the night, and it felt like a wonderful goodbye party.
Also, since it’s hard to sleep on your last night anywhere, I highly recommend my chosen strategy of staying up into the wee hours with friends, playing Taboo and cooking pizza. (thanks, gals!)