Tokyo Jidai Matsuri

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We visited the Tokyo Jidai Matsuri in Asakusa which was quite a disappointment as it was awfully boring with the parade going on so very slowly, police and other guards going mad with with their whistles and keeping everybody so very far away that we left rather early. The costumes and little dances were fabulous, however the matsuri just didn’t have any soul and fell flat.
We had, of course,  previously visited the Kawagoe and Hannō matsuri and those were grubby, old fashioned with tons of fun and full of soul.

Hunting for ginkgo seeds

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Around Temple #32 of the Chichibu pilgrimage, we ran into this old lady who was collecting the ginkgo seeds from the local ginkgo biloba tree. She told us that she was almost blind and had to sift through the leaves with her hands to collect the seeds by touch. The last two years, the tree had yielded a lot fewer seeds than previous years.

If you are familiar with the Japanese countryside, you might know that farmers often sell vegetables, fruit, pickles, mushrooms, nuts, etc on the side of the road in ramshackle little wooden sheds where you pick what you want and drop the indicated amount in a tin or jar.
We bought all she had collected that day, two bags of about 50 seeds for ¥200 per bag, which made her happy to receive some pocket money. Later that day, when we visited one of those large omiyage centres on the way back from Chichibu, smaller bags with ginkgo seeds went for ¥400.