Ikata Visit (Part 2)

The following are photos from the Ikata portion of the Ikata-Red Wing Exchange taken by members of the Ikata International Exchange Association office. This is part two out of two.
Some of the students residing in the Ikata area were able to take part in the mochi maki (throwing rice cakes) at the beginning of a festival. This is a very big deal and a great honor to be a part of.

On Saturday, the students went up to visit Matsuyama - the capital of Ehime Prefecture.
Here they are in front of Matsuyama Castle, a rare castle in terms of many of its buildings being original.

Next, the students visited the Dogo neighborhood of Matsuyama. We traveled there by Bocchan Ressha - a toy-like train from the early 1900s.
In front of Dogo Onsen, one of the oldest hot springs in Japan.

On Sunday, the students took part in Ikata's largest festival, Kinahaiya. The opening performance was by Dodo Taiko, Ikata's youth taiko troupe.
Waiting around before being introduced by the crowd.

Being asked a number of questions about their impressions of Japan and Ikata by the MC. (Favorite food, memories, etc.)

And once again, as a part of the opening ceremony, got to shoot off a cracker and take part in mochi maki (throwing rice cakes)

For about two hours, the students helped out at the International Exchange Association booth doing free face painting. You don't really see much face painting at Japanese festivals so this is a booth that many children in Ikata look forward to every year and it is a great way to connect with others, even if one does not speak the other's language.

Japanese flags and American flags were popular.

At the end, everyone dressed up in yukatas and joined in two dances (odori) as a part of the International Exchange Association.
Despite the (sometimes) hot and humid temperatures, Ikata enjoyed hosting the students and chaperone from Red Wing, MN for its thirteenth time and we hope to continue this sister city relationship for years to come. Cheers!

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