In The Center

 Shibukawa Heso Matsuri 2009


Thirty minutes from the small city where I live in Japan is another small city. There isn’t anything really special there: it’s basically a suburb of the next bigger city.

But …it is special in Japan for one reason.

It is Japan’s geographical center:  … it is the bellybutton.

Shibukawa Heso Matsuri 2009

So what do you do when you are the bellybutton of a country?

You have a bellybutton festival!

Shibukawa Heso Matsuri 2009

A few hundred people dancing down the streets dressed up with painted stomachs or wearing t-shirts with faces on them; a few thousand people watching them; and a few thousand more trying to buy food and drinks at all the stands and kiosks.

Shibukawa Heso Matsuri 2009

 There are no ifs, ands, or butts at this festival; … just innies and outies.

Shibukawa Heso Matsuri 2009

 Even if you don’t join innie, you’re not left outie.

Shibukawa Heso Matsuri 2009

 These women even gave me a free beer!

How cool is that?

Pretty cool!


note: here is a bit of video from the  2008 Shibukawa Heso Matsuri (Bellybutton Festival)

double note: I don’t think there is a festival celebrated in the geographical boobs of Japan … and for those of you living there, I stick out my tongue in your general direction.

Shibukawa Heso Matsuri 2009


triple note: I looked around for some lint, but I couldn’t find any.

quadruple note: razzbuffnik  at “All The Dumb Things” left a very funny comment on my Boomerang  entry. It seems to have taken on a life of its own. Have a look and add your thoughts if you are feeling silly.

11 responses to “In The Center

  1. So that’s where all the belly button lint comes from. Now I uderstand how it gets into my navel.

    Japanese lint ninjas put it in there while I sleep!

    Now all I have to do, is figure out why?

  2. It seems you are always in the center of things! This looked like fun. The people really get into their celebrations! They know how to live it up! All of those comments you referred to are too crazy for me! LOL 🙂

  3. That sounds much better than when I used to live in England. I thought of it as the geographical ass. Later I found that it was actually the arm-pit.

  4. Where but in Japan would one have a bellybutton festival?

    You look good in that fantastic Planetross T shirt. Know where I could buy one? (blatant plug)

  5. Where are the boobs of Japan, exactly? (INSERT JOKE ABOUT JAPANESE GOVERNMENT HERE)

  6. I would’ve joined innie haha. Looks like fun.

  7. It was a good time indeed. There’s even a bigger one coming up in our home town of Numata on August 3,4,5. Nice to step into them slowly though. Kind of like stretching before a big event.

  8. Thanks for all the comments.

    razzbuffnik:Japanese lint ninjas“! hee hee!

    Doraz: This was my first time at this festival. I don’t know how I’ve missed out on this one for so long. Every little town has a festival in Japan, but 80% of them happen in the same 6 weeks on weekends. I guess in the past I’ve always gone to one of the fireworks displays that happen on the same day.
    A big thanks to Kelly Pettit for dragging me along to this one.

    prairieflounder: I bet a place geographicalassified as the “ass end of the armpit” of a country may resent that a bit.

    S. Le: Mr. Pettit gave me a choice: the Fuji Rock Festival (monster event about an hour away) for free or the Bellybutton Festival. I think I made the right decision. I’m sure I can see Simon and Garfunkel and Oasis next weekend somewhere.
    Yes, the t-shirts are very comfortable and festival friendly.

    Dennis the Vizsla: good one! hee hee!

    sweetiegirlz: if you don’t join innie, you’re just a navel gazer or something. hee hee!

    Kelly Pettit: thank you for letting me tag along with you to this one … and showing me how to operate my camera. hee hee!

  9. I live in the arm pit of California. Does that count for anything (besides deodorant balls)?

  10. Great post! In my neck of the woods, we have Blue Grass Festivals (but the grass is green) with flat foot dancing or flat footin’. You don’t need to have flat feet to participate. Strange.

    Hey, that’s my shirt! 🙂

  11. Thanks for the comments.

    Myrtle: no, I don’t think that counts for much. hee hee!

    Tammy: growing up my hometown has a Fall Fair in September with carnival rides and everything. There was a lot 4H stuff and canned vegetables. I’m not sure if they still have it: they probably do. I guess life moves on even when I leave. hee hee!
    On Vancouver Island the Nanaimo Bathtub races and the Parksville Sandcastle Building Competition are the original ones … unless your into a salmon derby, rodeo, regatta, or logger sports.

    It’s a very nice shirt!

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