Sunday, August 10, 2008

Bon Odori (Dance) by Jinmuji

There was a bon odori (bon dance or 盆踊り) festival last night right near our house. It was actually across the street from Jinmuji station, about a 5-10 minute walk from the gate into our housing area. I say "5 or 10" because it depends on whether or not Sydney's walking or in the stroller. It was very small and intimate, but that allowed it to be personable and more relaxed. Bob came with us but didn't get in any pictures, shocking! And I was behind the camera, of course, so I didn't get in any either. We got there around 6:45 and left about 8:30. The girls were playing with other kids, both American and Japanese, but they warmed up and were brave enough to start dancing. Keanna got out there and joined the crowd and Sydney followed her, but after a few minutes Sydney came back to sit on the steps with me.

Taiko drummer was so sweet. He invited all the kids up to the stage to take turns, but they all had to take their shoes off first! Thank goodness for slip-ons, right?! He spoke a little bit of English and would tell the kids, "Okay, now change." He had a good system going and kids got their fair turn. I couldn't get a clear shot of Keanna playing, but I did of Sydney and she was really enjoying it. Keanna only played for a minute then stepped back and danced while other kids took their turn.

You'll see Keanna and a man in a gray t-shirt in some of the pictures. She made friends with him, and he stayed close to her for one of the dances and helped her throughout. They both got a kick of each other and it was really sweet. Afterward she thanked him saying "Arigato" and I bowed and said it. He bowed back and we were in a little bowing match! He chuckled so I stopped bowing. We had a great time and are so glad we went. Keanna even woke up this morning and said, "Mom, I want to go back to the place with the drum and dance in the circle tomorrow. Sydney wants to play her drum instrument with the sticks while I dance."

I took more pictures and have uploaded them into my Shutterfly album if you want to see the rest. There are some random pictures at the beginning, but 95% of them are from bon odori last night.

The people here are so kind, warm and appreciative when we try to join in their cultural events, or even greet or thank them in Japanese. It's a great feeling, and I can only hope Keanna and Sydney have some concept of the incredible opportunity we have living here.


WeidnerWorld said...

Your pictures turned out really well!