Had one of those ‘only in Japan’ moments last Sunday afternoon when I went to Kanamara Shrine in Kawasaki for the “Festival of the Steel Phallus” celebrating fertility. I saw many pricks at the shrine but thats enough about the many gaijin that found themselves in the vicinity!! It wasn’t just foreigners though as every Tom, Dick and erm Willy managed to get themselves over to Kawasaki Daishi station to see this quirky little festival.
Due to my drinking excursions the night before I didn’t rise too early on Sunday morning nor was i up the crack of dawn! However I managed to pull myself together to get there at 2pm. I had informed a few friends of the festivities so thought it best to ignore my hangover and hope that the sight of a few todgers would wake me up. It was my ar*e that was on the line and I didn’t want a cock-up!!
Fortunately I arrived just in time to see the giant pink penis on display and upright before it was put away. Honestly, I am not making this up just for the sake of some cheap nob gags. There was also a giant wooden penis and a dickhead helmet and some strange genital shaped crafts and candy. Seeing people in such a reserved country sucking away on such treats (thats the lollies and not the crafts) and having their photos taken in such compromising positions left a slightly bad taste in my mouth. Not literally though of course as I didn’t queue up for a couple of hours to get the penis lollies which were being made one at a time by some old bloke.
My protests to people that i was just there to see the cherry blossom and the temple was not swallowed by anyone. There was also live music, competitions of some kind, a congregation of transvestites and just a little bit of rain which, to use a very over-used cliche, didn’t dampen the spirits of the people who all had smiles on their faces after seeing such a unique celebration. Quite refreshing given the usual lack of expressions which I see from commuters on workdays.