We had been walking a long way, so we sat down to watch some entertainment. While we were watching a woman singing, the performers for the next act recognized us from the Bon Odori a few weeks ago and were happy to see us.
After their dance act, three of them without their masks and scarves posed for a picture with us.
We met up with some more people we know, which is one of the great things about living here.
The rice is pounded on a huge platform at the intersection of two streets downtown. Four ropes and about 200 people raise the pounder, then on signal everyone lets go and it smashes down on the rice.
It is a bit scary and we were told the ambulance has to take people away every year. After the rice is pounded enough, it is carried away to be prepared to give out to the festival goers. Everyone there can get in line to get a bowl for free, but people who help with the pounding get a ticket to go to the head of the line. The mochi is served in a bowl with red beans on top.