Saturday, October 31, 2009

Saga Balloon Festival

Today I traveled to Saga, a town between Sasebo and Fukuoka. It is here that the Sagans(maybe?) hold there annual International Balloon Festival & Grand Prix. A term I thought only attached to car races, but alas, today was about a few different things I have yet to encounter in life. A hot air balloon grand prix being one of them.

The festival grounds are so huge that I can't even begin to tell you what the town of Saga actually looks like. For all I know, it's just grass. The walk from the bus parking to the first section of the festival took 20 minutes alone. Naturally, after a three hour bus ride I was in need of a bathroom break. I am convinced the lack of Sugar Free Red Bull in my life helped me even make it three hours. So, this is the one and only time that I will not curse the name of the commissary for not carrying my beloved choice of caffeine. The bladder holding victory was short lived and so, here in lies the first encounter.
The Port-0-Potty.
Now, I am no stranger to the Port-o-Potty. Every year we attend many events, armed with travel toilet paper and handy wipes. But, this was a Japanese Port-o-Potty. The Lord only knew (or the way I see it, the devil only knew-and was laughing)what I was getting myself into and due to the lack of line I didn't really have any time to prepare/console myself. For one brief-very brief- moment I even thought that it might be okay, as there were little ladies hobbling from one port to the next cleaning the potties. While, the idea of port-o-potty cleaning ladies gave me enough strength to open the door it pretty much stopped there. As I opened the door my heart sank to the bottom of the pee covered plastic floor, where of course I also found the "squatty potty". It was in this moment that I discovered that Port-o-Potties are NOT universal. So, there I was with nothing in between me and relief except for a pee covered floor, a hole in the ground...and jeans. All I could do was hold my breath, go for it, and pray my purse didn't fall off the hook.
I went through that alone have you know, so I didn't have anyone to direct my awkward, I just did that but it took me over 5 minutes look, at. I put on a big girl face. . . and didn't drink anything for the rest of the event.

Now, on to the balloons.

I sat around for three hours waiting for the events to begin. Safe to say, I should have brought company on this trip. So, after a few hours of aimlessly wandering around from booth to booth I grabbed a seat on the concrete bleachers and resorted to people watching. People watching in general is quite amusing, but people watching in Japan is delightful. I don't know what anyone is talking about, things are foreign, and the fashion is mind-boggling- in an awesome way. These girls spare no expense to the fact they are walking around in dust and dirt. Needless to say, it makes for great entertainment Imagine, trying to figure out what people are doing as well as make up in my head what they are saying. The latter becoming a bit easier as I pick up more and more words.

Observation one: if I am ever stranded on an island with multiple races, each one holding a pre-packed picnic basket- see ya later, I'm picking the lovely Japanese family. Not only do they come prepared with tiny fruits, but also all kinds of things wrapped in rice, candies, juices and water. I mean, it's munchies city.

Observation two: they totally have these super fun plastic mats they lay out. with super cute kids and tons of toys.

Observation three: black leggings with brown booties are all the rage. Not to mention most wear multiple layers, so chances are I could get a change of clothes out of it.

Observation four: I want a Japanese dog.

Getting to the balloons, the next new encounter. When they finally began to emerge from the ground, they were absolutely enchanting. Plus, the sun was shining bright and there was a heavy haze, which made the balloons look almost angelic. Call me a sucker for old school but my favorites were the rainbow balloons, I just thought they looked so magical set against the bright blue sky. The first round, while beautiful-was short and left me wondering, I came all this way for that?

check out that cheese. . .

But then, over the horizon came the next round.

Then came sunset, another first for me in Japan. Since I have been here I have yet to sit through an entire sunset. Which is sad because it's not everyday you can watch a sunset with lush mountains in the horizon. So I sat around watching the whole thing, by my self, but it's okay because it wasn't an insanely romantic sunset.

1 comment:

  1. wow. so pretty! that little girls hair pins were pretty too =)