Festival season is upon us: the time when a young man's thoughts turn to the topic of how the yukata has evolved from a casual garment to one that is special and even formal in its own way, not to mention a valued signifier of Japaneseness and "girl"hood (not that there aren't perfectly manly yukata available for the guys, too, but the vast majority you see in the street are worn by girls for girly effect).

This year I noticed an alarming trend throughout the festival grounds: dangerous children. For example, this kid:

... who, you will notice, is just about to whack his sister in the head with a fan. (They're watching and listening to the shrine-based floats with onboard percussion-and-flute bands.) Or this guy:

"That's not a baby with a knife... this is a baby with a knife."

Special bonus observation: Stitch (of Lilo & Stitch, which I quite enjoyed) is, apparently, wildly popular. Whole stalls were devoted to merchandise bearing his likeness.

Popularity factor: 0

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