Monday, August 27, 2007


*写真に写っている方で掲載をやめてほしいという方は、kokopelli_sa88 at hotmail dot com までご連絡下さい。

Are you a dancer?
Are you a professional dancer of taking dance lessons as a hobby?

Even if you’re not, in this rural town in Japan you can experience the followings every summer if you decide to participate as a dancer in our big summer dance festival, Yosakoi Festival. (To find out more about Yosakoi festival, click HERE.)


If you participate...

You'll be practicing after work in a park or a parking lot or a school gym… and even in your room.You'll struggle with the dance routine and get sick of having to wash your T’s soaked in sweat again and again and again...

But on the days of the festival….

There'll be no cars on the venue streets (except for buses at a couple of venues).

The street is all yours.

The spectators will love you...

…because you practiced hard.

…because you are doing your best.

…because you are being yourself in front of them.

…because you represent the good old tradition that never changes.

…because the way your vibrant costume moves is breathtaking.

…because you are here not for money but purely for your joy.

…because you are proving that working hard and achieving something has a meaning.

…because your expression of the joy tells them the “meaning” of the whole thing.

You'll be amazed to find how much your body appreciates plain cold tea or water poured into plastic cups directly from huge plastic buckets.

Maybe this festival is the MUST for the prefecture because it’s an important (or the only) way for this poor prefecture to make money.
But these people are not here in the crazy heat with a burning desire to save the prefecture from going bankrupt.

Many of the shop owners in the arcades/shopping streets could be losing more money than making, because actually not many people come in to shop while the dancing is going on there.
And still they need to financially support their local yosakoi dance teams.

Then why do they keep supporting this craze?

It’s just for these smiles…

Many dancers say that Yosakoi in Kochi is about ‘bonding.’

You realize that you have a special bond with all the team mates who came this far with you…

…and the staff and volunteers who supported the festival all the way through,

…and the spectators who fanned you when you were dancing.

When you get to the goal at a dance venue, you see the choreographer and/or leader, staff and your team mates waiting, cheering you up.

You realize how much they cared about you, and wanted you to feel the joy that they know very well about.

Many dancers confess that at their last dance, they almost feel like crying as they see the silhouette of their team mates ahead in the bright light of the leading truck at the goal.

It's hard to say goodbye to the special days in which you let your passion control you...

...the passion you never knew you had.

And after going through all these,
you’ll want to plunge into this madness again next summer.


Click this photo to see all my Yosakoi photos on a slideshow(when you have plenty of time)!
See the beautiful costumes that I couldn't post here.

* Photos in this post by obachan -- ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

posted by obachan, 8/27/2007 11:36:00 AM


Wonderful blog, wonderful event. I have been looking forward to seeing these pictures for a while now and I am not disappointed, the extras on flickr are great. Hopefully next time I am in Japan for Yosakoi I can join in again, it is exhilarating, you forget how exhausted you are and how much your feet ache until it is over, this post has brought very warm memories back to me :) see you soon. Now I have to work on my blog post about my holiday in Japan:)
commented by Blogger Ian, 8/27/2007 8:46 PM  
Hi Demon,
It was great to see you guys in Kochi this summer. So happy to hear that you liked these photos. Have you checked out my post on lamb with mint jelly sauce? It was GREAT! :D Thank you so much -- I'm not just talking about the jelly but your friendship. And YES, I hope to see you guys again.
Take care and be happy!
commented by Blogger obachan, 8/28/2007 11:12 AM  
Wow, excellent pictures! I really like the way you wrote the article. I only wish I could have seen it.. It certainly looks like a ton of fun.
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 8/29/2007 3:08 PM  
Thanks, Obachan.

That was lovely.

Sometime I will go to Kochi to see Yosakoi Festival!
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 8/31/2007 6:11 AM  
The festival will look 1000 times more powerful if you see it live.

Oh, please come and join the festival. Actually there's a team for on-the-spot participants. They get together on the festival day(s) and practice an easy dance routine for about an hour and join the dance parade (and be on TV, too!)
commented by Blogger obachan, 8/31/2007 9:55 AM  
I'm so glad I followed a link to your blog tonight. What amazingly beautiful pictures--you capture the beauty of movement and emotion on your subjects faces.

Where exactly is Kochi? Even going on ten years here I am still fairly clueless about Japan's geography. I know Tokyo, Yokohama, I know Osaka, Kobe, Kyoto, Nara Kagoshima, Fukushima, Miyazaki. . .and of course our current home, Akita.

Your cooking blog is also inspiring!

commented by Blogger coarse gold girl, 9/10/2007 9:17 PM  
Hi Laura,
Thanks for leaving a comment. So you're in Akita! I guess you are enjoying very good rice over there? :) There's a Yosakoi dance team called RIKU from Tohoku area and I think some of the members are from your prefecture.

Kochi is in Shikoku Island -- you know the island next to the Kyushu island where Kagoshima and Miyazaki are located.
(To tell you the truth, I'm a middle-aged Japanese woman and still fuzzy about Japan's geography -- esp. the northern part. And I've met many young Japanese who do not know how many prefectures are in Shikoku. So don't worry. :)
commented by Blogger obachan, 9/12/2007 10:40 AM  
English is your second language? You are completely bilingual in your posts--may I ask how you came to speak/write such fluent English? I'm still just soaking up all the glory of your blog with amazment at all the beautiful photos! You are a gifted photographer! How is your Korean now? (I was peeking at your blog posts from 2005). I'm American, married to a Japanese man, we have two daughters (9 and 5) and Japan is now my home for life. (but my Japanese is far, far from even being considered intermediate) My husband's hometown is in Kagoshima.

commented by Blogger coarse gold girl, 9/16/2007 9:11 AM  
It's very nice of you to compliment my English (but I know my English is not that good, haha...) As for photographing, I think I had a better luck this year compared to last year, partly because the weather was better and also because I got more used to my camera.
commented by Blogger obachan, 9/19/2007 12:38 PM  
I found your blog by accident today and really really love your writing.
I'm Indonesian, and the city where I worked, Surabaya, is a sister city with Kochi. Every year they cooperate to hold Yosakoi festival in Surabaya. Many participants from local schools, or clubs; and also from Kochi.

I danced Yosakoi in the festival once. I loved the spirit and reading your story reminds me a lot of those memories. Thanks :)
commented by Blogger imoet, 10/20/2007 2:42 AM  
i know the feeling because we have a yosakoi group set up by nihongo no sensei here in Barcelona. i love every second of practice!

neki desu
commented by Blogger neki desu, 10/21/2007 4:11 AM  

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