Gokujou Naruto

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Footnotes: Chapter 1

Foot notes, Chp 1

1. Natsumatsuri is Japanese for “Summer (natsu) Festival (matsuri).” They’ll vary from prefecture to prefecture, the one in this story resembles those from the North. It’s very, very much like a parade of floats, with lots of people standing around watching. The one I went had its roots in bringing about a plentiful harvest, and general health of people. They tend to happen more often than not in late summer, but I’m putting this one in the beginning for stylistic purposes. *Grins*

Matsuri are town things, for the most part supported by local businesses (who get advertising by putting their names on the lanterns that hang off the sides of the floats, and hand out cheap, paper fans also with their names or products. Famous example: Kirin (beer)). Schools will only put up a float if they’re richer than average. The float Naruto wanted to sabotage was his school’s float; the Kagura-like float Sasuke and party were on.

Everybody shows up for natsumatsuri; there’s lots of vendors selling drinks, meals and other more useless stuff won at games (like the goldfish game. They‘re so rigged. You try to catch a little fishy with a paperclip on a plastic dish. We all play anyway!). People dance, get drunk and generally have fun.


More Festival Pictures

An example float from Aomori festival.

2. Yukata vs. Kimono . Kimono are intently more expensive, more layered and made of silk. They’re also winter clothing, because they’re so much warmer. ^__^ Poor Sasuke and co must have been HOT! Yukata are printed and cut out of cotton, not originally designed. They take way less time, five minutes to the Kimono’s hour- and some Kimono can only be put on by someone NOT wearing it, but those are really, really elaborate (think wedding Kimono). Also, the obi (really long, ornately tied belt) on Kimono are heavy, expensive and embroidered. You can’t use cho-cho (butterfly-style) obi with Kimono, which is the standard style used with Yukata for not married women. Men’s obi are significantly more simple and are called kaku .

Women's yukata.

Matsuri Dress
This is an illistration depicting matsuri worker's yukata.

3. Musashi is a famous samurai warrior . . . His hair and eyes are particularly famous. *Amused* he’s got really, really intense you-can-see-the-whites-of-his-eyes kinda freaky gaze that stand out against his deep tan. He’s famous for his brute strength, and his skill as a samurai. For example, this tough guy can slice off the top of a candle so fast that the flame doesn’t flicker, and the wax just falls right back where it was to start with. He can paint sumi-e too! Musashi doesn’t wear armor, or shave his head into the famous samurai-style hair cut- he looks like a wild man with his bushy hair piled on top of his head. He was the star of a TV show just last year. Also, someone wrote a book (that’s even published in English(!!)) about his life.

An old flyer for the tv show, kinda beat up... a bit longer hair than Shikamaru, though.

4. Kagura is basically traditional stage acting. The story is usually a famous myth, and involves demons in disguise and warriors, but not Samurai, which is why Naruto knew they weren’t real Kagura actors. Also girls screamed. Girls were forbidden to act in any of the performing arts, a tradition still honored today. There’s usually a four -man band playing some awesome music, but Sasuke and company probably had a tape. Kagura has some great, worth more than my life expensive costumes and many of them. Not all of the actors wear masks.


Life-sized dolls dressed in costumes used in Kagura.

Painting of a Kagura actor playing the role of a demon.

A large Kagura mask hanging on a wall.

5. I actually saw a movie where an old, fat blind man caught a ring on a katana! The plot was really good, although the special effects could have been better. What can I say, it was old. Alas, I don’t know the title.

Back to Chapter One

On to Chapter Two


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