The festival grounds were decorated with numerous banners planted in various locations, like a sumō tournament at Ekōin or the Oeshiki festival at Honmonji. In addition, they had borrowed a flag from every country and strung them between cords and ropes, filling the whole sky with vivid color. A stage had been hastily erected in the east corner, and this is where the renowned Kōchi troupe was to perform their dance. To the left and half a block down, surrounded by a reed screen enclosure, was an exhibition of flower arrangements. Everyone seemed impressed with the arrangements, but I found them utterly worthless. If they take such delight in twisting grasses and bamboo, then they must also rejoice in finding a hunchbacked beau or a lame husband.
Opposite the stage they were launching rockets one after another. One released a balloon, on which was written 'long live the Empire.' It floated gently over the pines around the castle tower and descended among the barracks. Another launch sounded, and this time a black dumpling shot up through the autumn sky. Over my head it split open into trails of blue smoke, drawing a set of umbrella ribs that drifted lazily down the sky. Another balloon went up. This one had 'long live the armed forces' in white against a red-dyed background. It swayed on the breeze and floated over the hot springs town toward Aioi Village. It may have landed within the Kannon temple grounds.
There hadn't been so many people at the ceremony, but by now a tremendous crowd had gathered. I was surprised that the countryside could produce such a multitude. There weren't many intelligent faces among them, but they were formidable in their numbers. At this point the renowned Kōchi troupe began their such-and-such dance. When they had said dance, I'd hastily assumed it was the sort of dance done by the Fujima school. I couldn't have been more mistaken.