The blog of Tokyo based photographer and photojournalist, Damon Coulter

Ducking Out

Just got around to posting a picture here of the Kintaro Duck Race. Such is the way of life with the kids off school: I am busy beyond belief but did duck out of family commitments for a few hours on Sunday to  photograph this amazing and unusual event.

I mean who could resist 15,000 yellow rubber ducks floating down a river in rural Kanagawa? Photographed this festival last Spring but this year’s race was cancelled in April due to the earthquake and tsunami and was instead held this Sunday (August 7th).

Diffrences from last year were numerous. First and foremost it was a different location: Minami Ashigara not Matsuda as before. The river was smaller and though I could get closer to the action, the stepped river bed did not provide the great watery vistas with thousands of shiny yellow ducks floating across them that last year’s event  had. There seemed to be slightly less ducks and certainly less formality and attendant fun. Last year the mayor of Minami Ashigara had started the duck race, this year nothing official seemed to happen at all and at 10 O’clock  the ducks were just dumped in the water by the crane and left, officially, alone. The same good causes were helped though by the 500 yen each duck had cost and the first placed duck still won its owner a holiday in Hawaii but there was none of the festival feel that had ended the race last year. Aside from the earthquake self-restraint another reason may have been the 40 degree heat that accompanied us as we wandered down the river banks following the lead duck (above) sweatily to its not too celebrated victory.

Still a great and unusual festival, but not as much fun as last year I have to admit. And as none of the contacts I had made last year seemed to have been working on the race this year it was hard to get in and get the images I wanted.

Very busy talk soon.



2 responses

  1. Fun shot.


    August 9, 2011 at 1:01 am

  2. Thanks Paule. Had a mare uploading images, added some more now. Nothing is working this morning. Damon

    August 9, 2011 at 1:26 am

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