Wakayama – Yosakoi dancing!

Note: Running a few days behind on these as I’ve not had time to keep up, and also caught some sort of killer virus that means I’ve not had the energy in the evenings to do these.  So it’s possible I might update a lot when I get back rather than daily.  Also I’ll upload videos after I’m back, so check back for updates in a couple of weeks.

Last year I ended my stay in Japan in Wakayama, and while there I stumbled upon a really cool music event, where an area near Wakayama castle had been taken over with a live stage and dozens of dance teams.

My second day back in Japan and I found myself on the train back to Wakayama, having made a quick pit stop in Osaka, to chuck my luggage into a station locker after having checked out of my first stay earlier in the morning.  I’d also stopped for breakfast, and despite my Japanese having improved, I did on this occasion end up slightly confused as I thought I’d just ordered a toast and coffee, but somehow I ended up with a fancy yogurt as well!

Having actually slept on my comfy futon, and not on the floor of Kyoto station, I was considerably more awake for this trip to Wakayama than I had been the last time.  Though I did actually feel a bit rough, as the coffee I’d had seemed to have the strength of 100 espressos! Leaving a very sickly strong coffee taste lingering in my mouth!

On arrival in Wakayama I stepped out of the station and saw the familiar sight of the coloured waves, beams sculpture outside the station, it brought back a flood of memories of the last time I was here.  It was great to be back!

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First port of call was a vending machine and an ice cold Pepsi Refresh Shot to wash away the horrid coffee taste I’d been left with!  This did the trick and I proceeded the mile walk toward the castle and event.  I probably looked a bit odd making my way along, as I was just smiling to myself occasionally waving my arms out to my sides to just enjoy the sun and the breeze, pretty much like a kid would do XD

Party time!

As I neared the castle I could hear the music playing, an instant sign that my hunch had paid off and I’d timed things well!  As I made my way into the clearing one group was already performing on stage, other dance teams were either practicing at the sides, grabbing food and drinks, sitting around chatting and laughing, or just wandering around, it was  sea of colours from all their dance clothes.  The atmosphere of the place was exactly like last time, hyper, energetic, exciting, high spirited, and of course just good times!

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I first decided to grab some lunch while enjoying the music, I ended up ordering some sort of bird meat on skewers, I think chicken.  On the menu it said something in kanji then tori, so it was some kind of bird meat, but not knowing what the leading kanji was or it’s reading, I simply asked for tori.  Which really would have been the equivalent of ordering food and saying “Can I have some bird please”!

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The rest of the day was then spent just hanging out by the stage enjoying all the performances, loving every second of it! Sadly my favourite team from last year didn’t appear to be there, but all of the other performances were still amazing!

The finale was the same as last year where all of the teams grouped together on stage for one massive dance and sing along! This really is my favourite event on the planet! I’m considering making the trip next year for it again!

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With the event over it was time to head off to Osaka and find my next place of stay.  As it turns out a really nice modern flat, another balcony, comfy sofas, TV, futons and massive shower / bathroom.

Note: I should add pictures and videos I’ve taken of the performances might not be great, as I’m watching the event and just holding my phone in one hand below my head to record / take images.  I don’t actually look at my screen during the performances, otherwise there’s no point being there live!

SLR rant

One thing I discovered is that the SLR / DSLR camera culture seems to be the same in whichever country.  In that even in Japan people with SLR/DSLR cameras think that ownership of one gives them the entitlement to barge in front of people and block their view of things just so they can get their photo, presumably not actually even enjoying the event as they’re so occupied trying to take a picture.

Well I have news to those types of SLR/DSLR owners, owning a big fancy camera, which 75% of them probably only own to look fancy and don’t actually know what half of the settings do, having a bigger camera does not give you the right to push your way in front and block other people from actually seeing things!

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