Tsukigase Firefly Festival is probably the smallest festival I’ve ever been to. Which is good, because large crowds and fireflies probably don’t mix well. Still, after driving for over 2 hours towards a GPS pin a friend had provided, the latter hour taking us deeper and deeper into the pitch black middle of nowhere, we were beginning to wonder if we had been punked.
Finally we saw a small, lit tent in the distance. We drove past it slowly, arguing amongst ourselves if that could even be it. There were only a handful of people huddled under the small tent, taking refuge from the rain, and… singing? Road-weariness won and we parked the car and ventured hesitantly into the festivities.
After the choir finished up, we went for a rather wet walk down a dimly-lit path, to search out some fireflies. We did manage to see quite a few, despite the rain, and even had some join us under our umbrellas for awhile! I held one in my hand until it tried to crawl into my jacket sleeve, poor little wet guy! One of our friends had one latch onto her dress, and every time she spun around, it glowed brighter!
When we returned from our firefly walk, the festival tent had been transformed into a reggae hippie fest! It was the most random thing ever, for this tiny festival in the middle of farmland nowhere, but the performers were actually really good! There was even one guy with a didgeridoo.
When you’re lucky enough to stumble upon small community events like this, you often get to meet really interesting people and have really unique experiences. The bad thing about a group of seven foreigners making up nearly half the attendees is that they apparently can’t help but call you up to the front, make you introduce yourselves and your countries, and ask you to sing a song. Put completely on the spot, and with nowhere to run, we settled on “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer.” A little out of season, perhaps, but someone ad-libbed the line “had a very shiny nose… like a firely!” So hey, it worked. Despite everyone being soaked by the end, the people of Tsukigase were happy to have hosted guests from at least six countries, and we were happy we got to see fireflies and listen to awesome music in the middle of the rice paddies!