A couple of weeks ago, back during sakura time, my friend T and I went to Hamamatsu Castle Park to look at the cherry blossoms and spy on all the hanami. As a very special treat, we got to see a performance by a musical group with loud drums and ghost-like dancers.
The performers wore cool costumes, like this guy. He's got sakura painted on his back and was part of a matched pair. After one set, they both worked the crowd, patiently submitting to dozens of photograph requests by adopting the perfect pose. My regret is not getting more shots of the rest of the performers, but I only had a disposable camera and was on a strict photo budget.
The ghosts, meanwhile, in armless, legless floral costumes, each did a slow, high-stepping walk, their alien body language seamlessly creating these mysterious spirits from the other world.
Some children were more curious than others, and bravely approached the ghosts:
These kids subjected one ghost dancer to a thorough investigation, but she never broke character. She scooted away from their prying hands, her eyes serenely closed, and never once spoke. When it was time for her to dance again, and she rose from the bench, the children cried after her, "Can you speak? Why can't you speak Japanese?"
My friend T took this picture, my favorite of the day. When the ghost saw T ready to snap the shot, she quickly shuffled into close-up, leading to this gorgeous photo.