Sunday, February 13, 2005

Hina Matsuri vs. Nakatsu Public Hospital

Amy's cough got progressively worse through yesterday, and she finally vomited in bed. She was upset and crying because she was coughing so much and it hurt her. It also exhausts her - it is sad to see my little girl, who is usually so active and non-stop talkative, go so quiet and still.

Since her usual pediatrician does not open on Sundays, we had to take her to the public hospital, where we were given a day's worth of meds and told to go to Inoue on Monday.

And so we missed the Hina Matsuri Parade once again! Hina Matsuri is the dolls' festival, for little girls. Usually it's an at-home fesitval - girls take out their Hina Dolls - beautiful dolls dressed in Heian period court clothing. Then on the actual day, March 3, you have a party at home and drink a special sweet sake and eat special sweets.

But in Nakatsu, it has also become a public festival, and several families open their homes to display their dolls to the public. Most famous are Yori's dolls (Yori of the soy sauce fame). His has several sets that go back 2-300 years. The festival kicks off with a parade from the station round to the soy sauce factory. There are troups of dancers, groups of little girls dressed in various costumes, several rickshaws carrying ladies dressedin a variety of kimonos, and the highlight - this year's Hina festival princess, dressed in the same Heian period clothing as the dolls and carried in a beautiful wooden carriage.

It is this parade that we have now missed for four years in a row. We went in 2001 when Amy was a baby. In 2002 we were in NZ for Lena's birth. In 2003 we were in NZ to farewell Grandad. Both this year and last Amy was ill. Fingers crossed we will make it next year!

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