Thursday, 12 November 2015

Saga International Balloon Fiesta Guide (Part 2)

Ok, it's time for the afternoon activities! Basically, the afternoon activities differ depending on the day and weather conditions. First, the non-balloon stuff.

On two of the days, there was the Honda Bike Trials, which was way too cool. The show was held twice - once at 11 am and once a 2pm. The riders did wheelies and Jack knifes and a bunch of other tricks. Let me see if I can upload the video.

I actually sent the video to a few of my classmates who ride motorcycles. One replied with a "I wonder if I can do it", and the other didn't reply because it was in a group line and he was like 'I think it's for me but there's no way I can do it bye'.

Towards the end, they actually called for audience participation, but on the three times they did it, only the volunteers were selected TT.TT Basically, they asked for three people to lie down so they could jump the motorbike over them. I wanted to do it, along with my senior and my friends - we wanted to take a 360 video, but the first time I raised my hand, they weren't looking in my direction, and during the second time (after we asked the volunteers what the perfect spot to stand in was), it started raining so they didn't call for audiences.

Wait, there was one more time, where they asked people to try their balance on the bikes. Most people only managed for like 3 seconds, but there was this little boy (I think he was like 5?) who went over 5s. The guy was like "talk to me later, kid". So cool.

Anyway, photo that I took:

Also, I don't think I shared a photo of the outside of the Net Team's container, so here's a photo!

We had quite a few people come to ask us questions, so we wrote out the day's schedule, and at the very bottom, added that we accept gifts. We actually got quite a lot of snacks over the five days. Thank you kind twitter people!

Another thing that happened were the huge, huge kites. Like, the whale was huge.

Of course, that means that it couldn't really fly that well. Poor whale. I guess it can only swim freely in the sea.

On the last day, the non-balloon activity was Yabusame!! It was way too cool!! The only thing is that they closed off the area, even to people with vests like mine, because the camera shutter sound would scare the horses (apparently last year, one rider was thrown). And me being short, means that I can't really stand behind the crowd either. So the compromise - stand directly in front of the rope barricading everyone out - I checked with one of the official photographers, and she said it was probably ok.

One of the few good shots
Most of my photos turned out rather blurry though >< Everyone was travelling so fast! I think I had two good photos - and I gave one to my friend for the official blog.

And now, the part that everyone is waiting for - the afternoon races! To be honest, the weather wasn't cooperating very well in the afternoon (definitely check the weather forecasts if you're trying to decide between the morning and afternoon balloon races!) and in the end, we only held the race on the first day. On the last day, we had something called the "Key Grab Race", where the balloonist launched from somewhere else, then tried to descend and grab various keys. Honda was giving a scooter, and I think there were other prizes like konbu and balloon goods up for grabs.

The first team that got a key was a team from Hungary! And since we were uh, stuck inside the area (we were told to move, but we couldn't move the camera), and because the pilots crash landed, I managed to run up to them and get a photo. Turns out we got stuck in a very good spot.

The second team was from Russia, and the other three keys were left unclaimed. It's still amazing though, since the last time the race was held was four years ago, and then, no one could grab a key.

A lot of the balloons went very close to the grandstands though:

And now, some pictures from the one and only afternoon race:

While I find it cool to watch the balloons fly in, I really like watching them take off too.

The rule for going in was "no being a nuisance", and I swear I wasn't. I grabbed this shot real quick.

On the last two nights, we had the lighted balloons! There was some fancy name for them, but I forget. On the second last night, the wind had died down enough that we could raise the balloons too!

It was amazing walking around. The balloons lighted up according to the music, and everyone was clearly enjoying themselves.

At the end, there were fireworks but I was too far away so this was the only shot I could take. It isn't very good.

On the last night, the wind was way too strong, so we had the burners-only version, which was cool, but not as cool as the full version.

But I managed to talk to some of the people a little more - I found out that other volunteers were from Miyazaki Uni and Saga Uni and stuff. Way cool, but since they weren't part of the net team, I didn't get to meet them. Also, Miyazaki university has a hot-air balloon club O.O

And that's the afternoon/night activities! The next part will be the non-balloon but still related stuff XD