Sunday, August 13, 2006

Berkeley Kite Festival

The Berkeley Kite Festival is one of the biggest Kite Festival held in North America and it's just a great fortune that it's (Berkeley Marina) just a stone's throw away from my apartment. I ended up going with my buddy Takeshi and his family. The weather couldn't have been better and the atmosphere is truly magical; makes me feel as if I'm in one of those 宮崎 駿's anime.

Taken from our car as we drove into the marina...I got so excited just looking out from the car...i felt like a kid again...can't wait to get out to get closer to those giant kites!

The 河野 family scaling the slope towards the kites!

superb weather! soaring kites! what a wonderful world!

The whole skyline's filled with kites man! Awesome!

the crowd chilling out while the kites fly freely...

In japanese, kites actually directly translates to "octopus"...wonder whether that's why they always make octopus-like kites...though i heard these giant kites are from New Zealand...

Turns out that Takeshi's good friend runs a mobile Japanese restaurant and they were doing business at the festival...which means I got a Okinawa Soba for free~

Me and my Okinawa Soba!

The mobile shushi store.

Takeshi with his super-mini kite (at most 10cm wide)...but it flies real well!

the giant octopus!

Setting up a giant octopus...these guys make it look easy...or perhaps the wind condition was perfect that day...

Absolutely no idea how this "kite" can stay up the air by rolling around...

they have a team from Japan who brought in some traditional and seriously enormous square kites might look small cos they're flyin real high, but they can be real hard to handle, as I'd find out later...

The Japanese team doing a traditional idea what it's for...

Japanese dancing in their giant kites look over the entire bay area..

I was watching at the "sideline" when one of the Japanese grabbed me and shoved me some thick gloves....the next thing I know, I'm controlling one of those huge Japanese kites...just look at the angle I'm leaning to hold back the sheer force!

ok...this is abit exaggerating...but seriously, it's harder than it looks man...i'm just making it look easy...ha

The japanese kite i'm "piloting"

As I stood beside my Japanese kite piloting mentor...I can confirm one thing...he must have drunk a galon of sake in the morning before the festival....I can smell sake 3 feet from him!

Takeshi also getting in the act...

well...the American guy who took over Takeshi looked pretty strong...but just when we were about to head back to the Mobile shushi store, we heard a commotion behind us...and then we realize that the dude who took over Takeshi actually somehow let go over the kite accidentally and the Japanese were frentically getting hold of the rope before th fite flew away!! pretty funny sight...though very embarassing for that guy who "almost" lost the giant kite...

This totally kick ass man! Kite aerobics! i didn't know you can fly a kite with such precision and's almost like watching an Air Force airshow...

more octopus flying...

The Japanese team also gave a traditional percussion performance...pretty neat...if you look closely at this'd notice this really long red kite...this is probably the longest kite that day, probably stretching over the entire length of a football field!

Japanese percussion..

Another shot of the super-long red kite...and the adjacent kites...see the green flying gecko? pretty cute eh?

Giant octopus flying away..

A competitor gets ready for the "Kite Battle" event where kites battle out to see who's the last one to remain in flight...notice the man is wearing a thick glove...the rope used for these fighting kites are coated with glass fragments meant to cut down other kites...pretty hardcore stuff man!

The sky getting crowded with the fighting kites...a show-down about to begin!

one down!!! two down!! three down!!! this is war folks!

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