Wednesday, September 24, 2014

2nd Annual Hemp Festival


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Last weekend went to the second Annual Hemp Festival up in the mountains near Chizu, Tottori. The festival was organized by a small, local hemp farm to showcase the second most important plant in ancient Japan.

The day was kicked off by a purification ceremony by a Yamabushi from Mount Fuji.

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There were lots of stalls selling clothing made from hemp, probably its most important use in ancient Japan. There were also demonstrations of extracting oil from hemp seeds and a small loom where visitors could try their hand at weaving with hemp.

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The folks from the Hemp Car Project arrived in a bus powered by hemp oil. There were about three hundred people there, mostly younger people who have moved into the rural areas of Japan and practice a more sustainable lifestyle. There were lots of young children. The Mayor of Chizu gave a speech and suggested that he may be naming Chizu "Hemp Town" in the future. I met an old guy from Hiroshima who told me about a Shinto Sect shrine in central Hiroshima that has links with hemp. In return I was able to tell him about the Hemp Mountain and Hemp Shrine near our home.

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There were stall selling other hemp products, and several example of traditional hemp products including some bell ropes from Kyoto and a Gohei, a purification wand used by Shinto priests. Throughout the day musicians performed.

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As at any other festival in Japan there were plenty of food stalls including some vegan offerings. I settled for a Wild Boar Burger even though I have been eating a lot of boar this week. 600 yen a pop for a hemp beer from Germany was a bit too pricey for me but the brand name is kind of clever.

The main event of the day was the making of hemp fiber, and that I post next.....

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