Every year in October the Mizuakari Festival brightens the night with 54,000 lights lining Kumamoto City's Sakura-machi to Karashima Park.
Along both sides of the street, bamboo poles with varying patterns, resembling Australian aboriginal designs are placed into small holes. The lit up bamboo columns stretch continuously all the way to illuminate Kumamoto Castle.
Elementary and junior high schools also participate and the students' lanterns enhance the beauty of the festival. Their messages on some of the lanterns were so funny that some visitors burst out laughing.
In front of and around Kotsu Center tents are selling foods such as yakitori (grilled chicken skewers) and okonomiyaki (savory pancakes with various ingredients).
I was amazed at today's youth writing haiku poetry, with words such as spirit (魂) and peace (平和). Seeing these made me recall my memories of arts and crafts class during my elementary school years.
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Justin Velgus (ジャスティン ベルガス) is a long-term resident and promoter in the Tohoku region. He has been a content producer for JapanTravel.com since 2012 and was the Miyagi Prefecture Regional Partner 2013-2015. Justin’s over 300 published travel and culture articles come from a background of studying in Akita, teaching English in Miyagi through the JET Program, and working for the government in Fukushima. He lives in the gyutan capital of the world, Sendai. Justin is an expert in local culture and history. He was the first foreign volunteer at Sendai City Museum and regularly advises the local volunteer guide group GOZAIN , which he is a veteran member, on guiding techniques and hidden locations in the city even locals don't know about. In his free time he enjoys delivering original walking tours, such as his Dark Sendai Tour (ghost tour) or Kokubuncho Mystery Tour (redlight district tour). Justin is also a Certified Sake Professional.