January 12, 2004: Yufuin Film Festival (YFF)

The weather turned cloudy in the afternoon. Mt. Yufu is still visible clearly in the distance.
I will visit Yufuin valley from now.
before heading to there, I dropped in a small ceremony called "Dondo" held in our community.
I brought in some New Year ornaments.
After the Shinto ceremony, Dondo started with the ignition by a Toshi-Otoko, a man who was born in a year with the same sign of the Chinese zodiac as the current year. Until recently, the fire was set in an open space, but from this time it was changed to burn in a circle in order to protect the environment as well as safety reason.
Community residents flock in twos and threes with ornaments in hand. We were served with hot sweet sake and enjoyed warmth of the fire. We wish we will have a good year this year.
My destination today is Yufuin to attend a party that celebrates the award of YFF by the Agency for Cultural Affairs.

Kyudai local line runs such a lovely train. Yes, we don't race with it.
I first visited our favorite resort Kotokoto-Ya tearoom. After a pleasant chatting with the owner over the aroma of wonderful coffee, I visited Yufuin Spa Hall in which the award-winning party is held from now. Mt Yufu is hanging over me.
As I had a time , I enjoyed good spa in an open-air bath. This is the first time spa for me in Yufuin this year.
The hall was filled with many guests already. On the front wall is a big screen that reads "Congratulations!"
The YFF members stand in front of a big tapestry which was prepared in last year's festival (the 28th anniversary.)

So many good dishes wait guests in the center table.
The sponsors made few words in the beginning as usual.
"Human is culture itself" Ms. Shide strongly announced.
Mr. Yoneta, Yufuin Sightseeing Office, reads out many congratulatory telegrams from Governor and the Agency.
Mr. Itoh, the representative of YFF, makes a few words as well.
He has been involved in the festival over 29 years with the passion for the movie and Yufuin town.
This is the award of the Agency for Cultural Affairs.
The pamphlets since the first time YFF tell the long history of YFF.
YFF and YMF (Yufuin Music Festival) are always told together. Mr. Kato, the representative of YMF, proposed a toast.
Now, let enjoy foods and chatting.
We were here as the staff of YMF. I have had a good time this evening.
Good comrades.
YFF supporters.
Recently,NPO Sightseeing COARA is under application. Ms. Kuwano is the key person of the NPO.
Mr. Kagoshima of YFF who takes care of YFF homepage.
YFF staff made speech respectively.
The party was over in a good atmosphere.
Here in Yufuin, there is no movie theater. YFF, people of the town , and good films make the YFF successfully.