So despite pouring rain at 6:00 in the morning, the show, as they say, went on! The day was great!! The weather cooperated pretty well, with just a bit of rain at one point, but not enough to damper any of the "spirit" of this incredible festival!!
Here we are, sitting all scrunched up around the performance area in front of the temple. This particular area is quite small, but the show is good. I was sitting with my friends Kyoko (behind me....she's the one with the "temple connection" for the great seats!), Miwa (next to me) and her husband (behind her) and then Travis (in the front) and his wife Leigh (behind the camera!!) and her brother and his wife!!
This festival consists of "floats" that are carried/pulled around the town to different performance areas and to local businesses who pay big yen for each group to come and perform in front of their buildings. Some, like this one, is made to resemble a boat and can weigh up to 4 tons!!! CanNOT imagine pulling that up the stairs at the big temple!!! Each group enters the area and after making offerings to the Gods, they do their thing!! Usually, they move their particular boat or whatnot up and back and then spinning it around and around all the while chanting. It really is hard to explain and as I told Rochelle in Australia..."you really need to see it for yourself, to appreciate it"!!! **If you can, click on the picture and see in the enlarged on the expressions on the faces of the men. During the next week of classes, the "word of the day was INTENSE....the men, the dancers and so many involved were so very intense...it was quite impressive!!!
This boat was the 'Ja Bune'...or Dragon Boat. My friend, Richard took part in this and he said in an interview on TV after it was all over that he didn't even have the words in English to describe how he felt!!! It was fun watching the boats, but actually knowing one of the guys taking part was just that much better!!!
All the people involved start practicing on June 1....some of them work pretty much every evening and on the weekends to make sure the performances are without mistakes!!
The Ja O Dori, or "Dragon Dance" has become one of the performances that is repeated every year. The tourists who come to watch...and they come from all over Japan and possibly Korea and China, too....love this dance. I have to say that this year's Dragon Dance really wasn't the best I have seen, but one of the little old guys sitting near me told me that "next year would be better because that town has done it many times'.
These girls were incredible and again, intense. Their performance was a dance using swords and then later fans. The youngest girl was about 6 years old and she was the funnest to watch. She took her part very serious and you could tell that she, as well as everyone else, had worked very hard for this festival!!!
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Posted by dkuroiwa at 11:02 PM