Thursday, September 20, 2007

Dancingu wo shimashou!

So, ok. They're known for having beautiful women in gorgeous kimonos dancing around here in Japan, but I should warn you they also sometimes have other random creatures, such as tarako (which I believe is a character having something to do with fish eggs - like caviar) sharing the stage, too. One thing I've learned here is simply smiling and waving. Even after a year I still usually don't REally know what's going on, but I strive to maintain an attitude where I can just take a deep, contamplative breath and think..."hmmm...yes..well, THIS is interesting, now isn't?"

I am apparently a Japanese dancing fiend. Actually, they'll use any excuse to dress up the foreigner and make her dance around. One of my friends from school roped me into dancing with the inakajin (country folks) in her town for the "Keiro no hi" (Respect for the Aged Day) party they were having. After about 1.2 practices, I donned my yukatta and set foot on stage and did my best not to drop the sticks or boink someone over the head with them (I have NO idea what they symbolize - or are supposed to MATCH for that matter!).
Miraculously, I did quite well...but I'm definitely not quitting the day job. After the "beautiful" ladies danced, we held up paper "onigiri" (rice balls) while the "tarako" fish egg people danced a silly dance. You can see all of us at the end of the dance holding up a sign that basically says "Happy Old People's Day". The organizers even gave each of us a box of cookies to thank us for our efforts. I gave mine to the boys here - they're always hungry.

The other photo here is of me with my students as we prepared to dance in the parade for the Nonnoko Festival here in Isahaya. Kyoto sensei roped me into doing this one. Lovely lavander "happi" coats, obi, and kakkoii matching bandanas. Somehow the look really works for Japanese people, but despite my best efforts to make my hair play nicely, it just kept escaping. The kids told me the headband thingy was "a good match" for me however...that's just another one of those phrases that kinda gets lost in the translation. I once again had almost no practice, but the kids had fun teaching me the dance as we went along. (and yes, those are little white ceramic plates - think along the lines of Japanese castanets)

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