Previous posts on this blog about the Asakusa Samba Carnival like this one may have given you the impression that it’s all attractive young women in skimpy outfits. There are a lot of other things going on, though, if you can take your eyes off the ladies.
Marching band full of guys who must be very secure in their masculinity.
Right near the beginning of the parade comes a reminder from a local uchimizu group. Uchimizu is the practice of throwing water on the ground to reduce dust. It was probably a good idea a hundred years ago, but is now just wasteful and dangerous. People used to use bathwater, so it was not wasteful, and the streets really did get dusty, but these days, it just makes the paving stones slippery and I’ve seen numerous people slip or get splashed by overzealous street washers. Nobody uses bathwater, either, anymore, so they’re basically just wasting water by washing the pavement every day.
Next was the “arukutabaco” brigade. Many Japanese wards have made it illegal to walk around outside while smoking (although it’s perfectly fine to light up in enclosed spaces), supposedly because it’s dangerous. An journalist acquaintance of mine who looked into the facts of the matter, however, found that there has not been a single case of a person being seriously injured by someone carelessly smoking a cigarette.