Land of the Rising Sun (week 3: Sumida Park, Skytree)

We visited Sumida Park to check out the yabusame, a traditional event involving mounted archery.

Incidentally, the venue also has a clear view of the tallest structure in Japan: the Skytree. At 634 meters, it's almost twice as tall as the older Tokyo Tower which stands at 333 meters. Admittedly, it's not (yet) as iconic, but time will tell if that would change.

Much like the famed tea ceremony, yabusame is evidently ritualistic rather than anything close to being practical. For spectators, this could mean hours of waiting before anything exciting actually happens.

Unsurprisingly, traditional events tend to attract older crowds quite well.

Of course, ceremonies like this call for very traditional clothing. With no practical purpose whatsoever, I suppose it could be thought of as a veeery specific type of cosplay.

Somewhat unexpected: some of the faces were distinctly of non-Japanese origin. I'm placing my bets on "foreign exchange student volunteer".

Same with this fellow here.

There's probably a joke waiting to be cracked here.

Hours of marching around, bowing, taking seats; followed by a few seconds of actual mounted shooting.

This particular fellow was skilled enough to hit all three marks in a single dash. Hence, this award of a white cloth signifying divine favor.

Random Observation #5:
The coffee cans being sold by vending machines have ridiculously thick aluminum; crushing them with one hand would actually be quite a feat. I've used flimsier tripods with less robust metal legs.

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