Monday, August 15, 2005


Day 1 (Aug. 10th) -- Part II --

Otesuji street is the main dance venue of Yosakoi festival. It’s a four-lane street divided by the zelkova trees in the safety zone(?) in the center. There the Yosakoi dance parade is televised live by a local TV station, and flower medals -- the highest prize for individual dancers -- are given to outstanding performers.

This venue is my all-time favorite, but it has nothing to do with the TV appearance or the medals. I just love to watch the vibrant colors of the costumes and flags under the fresh green of the zelkova trees. Especially, the movements of the huge flags called furafu waved under the trees are just so magnificent! The furafu flags flap and swing as if they are alive, and never hit the branches or dancers or the audience. That’s the art of flag-waving which only experienced guys can do, and I feel thrilled everytime I see it.

Dancers #5

But when standing in line waiting for our turn that day, the attractiveness of the venue did not matter to me at all. The performance there was going to be longer than the previous ones, and I was worried about getting sick in the middle of the dance in front of the TV camera.

When the team right next to us started moving forward to the start line, we clapped our naruko clappers to cheer them up. When our turn came, another team did the same to us, shouting things like “Good luck!” “Give it your best shot!” I really love this kind of interaction at this festival.

Dancers #6

Fortunately I didn’t do anything terrible there during the dance parade, but didn’t do anything fantastic, either. The dance routine seemed to last endlessly to me, and the goal looked so far. I knew I didn’t have a happy expression on my face, and prayed that the TV camera wouldn’t come close to me. Then I realized that I forgot to set the timer recording to videotape our dance!!! Ahhhhh!!!

Dancers #7

After the performance on Otesuji street, we did a stage dance in the central park. I never really liked the stage dance so mcuh, because it looks more like a dance contest rather than a festival. Then we faced a real big challenge --- the longest arcade, Obiyamachi arcade. It was long enough to make me lose myself and I think I dropped one of my clappers while dancing there. There were a couple of friends of mine in the audience and they saw me dancing with only one clapper in hand.

Dancers #8

It was indeed the worst part of the two-day performance, but after surviving the parade at the longest arcade, things started getting much better. I didn’t get out of breath like I did in the first couple of performances. Little by little, I started paying attention to the audience. When we finished our performance at our last venue of the day, I was happy that I still had one more day to dance.
OK, I can do much better tomorrow!

Photos by Mr. K. Kawasaki.
* Photos are not quite related to the story.

posted by obachan, 8/15/2005 11:12:00 PM


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