By chance we happened to be passing by Matsumoto (and thus Charles and Yuko who I saw at my half-way point two months ago) during a festival. As the rather repetitive song explained it was “bon bon Matsumoto, bon bon bon!”. Played on a loop through loud speakers it got the parade of groups ranging from 5 drinking buddies to hundreds of school kids, companies and dance troupes. All were doing the same moves and relatively in time too.
Charles, Yuko and a few more from the party I attended were dancing too, but Tania and I just stayed in the crowd, and it was very crowded. We decided to leave a bit early because it had become so packed that it was almost as hot after dark as it had been during the day, which is to say it was stifling. We taken full advantage of the free breakfast in Nagano and then taken a slow and hot walk around Mastumoto Castle, nicknamed The Crow because of its black and white colour scheme. It’s one of the oldest castles in Japan (400+ years old, not a rebuilt replica) and has the interesting trick of appearing to have 5 floors from the outside, but actually having 6. Well worth a look if you’re ever in the area.