Sunday, June 12, 2005


It’s the time of the year that my basal metabolism goes up!
Preparations for our crazy summer dance festival, “Yosakoi” have started, not only in this prefecture but almost all over Japan. I would say “all over Japan” because recently more and more people come from other prefectures to join this festival and dance in the street under the hot summer sun here in Kochi. And now it’s time that many participating dance teams recruit dancers and start dance practices.

This year I’m in a unique team that consists of participants from all over Japan. Instead of having scheduled practices at certain places (gym, parking lot, park, etc.) like regular teams, this team sends participants videos/CDs for self-practice at home. The participants get together on the day before the main festival day and practice altogether just once, then join the festival. That’s why I chose this team.

Because my work schedule is an irregular combination of daytime and night-time shifts, it’s always difficult for me to attend scheduled practices of most regular teams. When I danced with one of the local teams a few years back, my lack of practice attendance really ruined the fun of the festival. The choreographer kept changing the dance while I was absent, and I ended up getting reprimanded for making mistakes in the middle of the dance at the festival.

Anyway, yesterday I received the practice video from the team I’m in this year. Since then, these have been (and will be till the end of the festival in August) my must-haves: A towel, isotonic drink and Naruko. Naruko are wooden clappers all the dancers must use in the dance at the festival. I have rubber-bands on them for now so that they don’t make noise while practicing in my room.

Those who have some idea of how humid it is in Japan in June, imagine what it’s like to dance for an hour in a room with all the windows shut (so that the music won’t bother the neighbors). And imagine how much damage the dance practice can do to tatami floor. ;P But for me dancing is an absolute joy, so I don't mind. I’m not good at it, but I just love it. I also believe this dance practice is definitely making me healthier… Because of this practice, I sweat a lot, have a good appetite and sleep better. My 5HT level must be elevated, too. I just need to be careful and eat/drink healthy stuff afterwards…not things like Crab Rangoon with ice-cold beer ;P

BTW, have you seen the film, “Dancer in the dark?” I thought it was a great movie and Bjork was a hell of a singer, but it had the most UN-exhilarating ending I’d ever seen.

posted by obachan, 6/12/2005 02:15:00 PM


The festival sounds so exciting. I remember the hana matsuri festival I witnessed in Japan in the late summer or early fall. It was truly amazing. I am so glad you participate in a dance group...how much fun is that?????? Yes, I imagine practicing in that heat and humidity must be exhausting, but fun....This must be an all day affair, huh? People must be collapsing all over the place.....
I didn't see the movie you mentioned....I'll have to rent it at the local BLOCKBUSTER>>>>
Keep practicing.....A wet towel around your forehead will help with the heat....ha ha.

Posted by carlyn
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 6/12/2005 9:01 PM  
Good luck with the dancing!!! I remember the festivals in Japan in the early fall. It's amazing how the entire town comes together to perform and prepare for these parades and festivities. It must be so much fun and a great time to spend with neighbors and friends.
....didn't see the movie you mentioned, but will head to the nearest BLOCKBUSTER video shop to rent it... 

Posted by carlyn
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 6/13/2005 8:28 PM  
Hi carlyn,
Oh? Maybe the comment system was working too slow? It happens sometimes. Sorry.
Be careful if you rent the video. I felt down all day when I saw that film... 

Posted by obachan
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 6/14/2005 6:39 PM  

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