Category Archives: Japan!

[Blog] 7th of August

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We have borrowed a hall for dancing every morning which we are very grateful for, due to the heavy raining all the time. Thursday the 7th of August started with practise, after lunch in the university restaurant we finished the signs for the lorry. They are saying in Swedish: Tillsammans dansar de alla i virvlande nysnö. One sign for the left side and one for the right side. We had an interesting discussion, because on the lorrys in a yosakoi parade you are meant to read the words from the front of the car which means that on the left side you have the word backwards. We saw the text, but it looked so weird reading it backwards. It took some time convincing the Japanese we are working with to have it possible to read from left to right. Even if very few can read it here.

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Satsui finishing the details on Springtime

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Amigu sawing while Park holds the umbrella. Yui Sannomiya who helped us in Kōchi in the front.

There are a lot of work putting everything together. It is a complicated construction with to pictures on each side, one to see when you are in the front of the car and one when you are behind. We could help a little with sawing, but building is work for men in Japan. Girls and women are not allowed to participate. On the other hand while the guys worked until two o’clock in the morning we had a quite early evening with time for games and chat.

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Part of First snow and Midwinter put together

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WHOlock and Amigu practicing

And the rain and the weather …

All the time we are wondering about the weather, waiting for a typhoon to come. The festival was supposed to start at Saturday evening with an opening ceremony, but it is cancelled. The festival though had been held 60 times and never been cancelled, so we hope.

 -マネージャーさん

Manager-san

[Blog] 6th of August

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Wednesday 6th of August started with breakfast at the university restaurant, breakfast in a Japanese way. Then we prepared for the paintings meant to be on the lorry.

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Ready to meet the governor

Ten twenty we were fetched with cars, going to Kōchi Prefecture Office to meet the governor. We were met with a big banner saying Welcome to Kōchi! Standing at the stair taking photos with a lot official people we felt like celebrities. We met the politician from yesterdays dinner and sat down in a conference room and then the governor entered. There were a conversation about yosakoi, Zyka and Sweden. The governor were glad to have a yosakoi team from as far away as Sweden in the festival and hoped us to have a good time in Kōchi.   

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Meeting with the governor, who is in the middle of the front row with two teachers from Kōchi University to the right. In the middle of the back row is Mr. Nishimori.

We were shown around in the building and visited the chamber and were allowed to try the chairman’s chair!

Shiozo Nishimori, the politician showed his place in the chamber. They have a system so the new members of the chamber are in first row, but since he been there so many year his place was in the last row.

Back at the university area, after having a nice Japanese lunch in the university restaurant, we started the painting for the lorry. We have prepared pictures illustrating the different parts of the concept, First snow, Storm, Midwinter and Springtime. They are meant to be at the lorry driving in front of us, having the music and the MC.We had good help from the Japanese group at the university who also prepared the boards by painting them white. We also had very good help by Satsui who came up with the idea having a projector to see the prepared picture on the board. Then everything went very smoothly and we worked until ten in evening doing almost three days work in one.

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Satsui, Amigu and Park doing the base sketching for the painting

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Iruka? in the front and Satsui in the back paining on Midwinter

-マネージャーさん

Manager-san

[Blog] 5th of August – Kōchi!

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We went to bed without knowing when to rise in the morning. Maybe at six o’clock, otherwise at nine o’clock. Sesshu called in the morning to say that still no trains or buses were leaving. We decided to practice so everyone were ready for practice and checked out at ten. Then we got new information, if we quickly took a train from Okayama to a smaller town there would be a bus coming to fetch us and take us to Kōchi. We were very happy, the festival was approaching! We are really grateful for all people helping us.

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Manager-san, WHOlock, Iruka?, Guntai and Peanuts in front of the bus

The view during the bus trip was fantastic, high mountains covered with trees and valleys with streams of water. High bridges over the sea and small islands. A fascinating landscape.

So, Tuesday afternoon we finally arrived at the university and meet a lot of kind Japanese people helping with this exchange, showing us where to sleep and eat and a lot other stuff.

The practice for Tuesday happened at the university area in Kōchi and when practising it didn’t rain!

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The first practice in Kōchi

Practice got a quick ending when things for the lorry arrived and needed to be carried. Everything are happening in a hurry, after this were 15 minutes for taking showers and then three taxis arrived taking us to the city centre. The taxi stopped at a hotel where we were told the emperor stays when he visits Kōchi.

We were invited to dinner with Shiozo Nishimori from the Kōchi Prefectural assembly and Keisuke Yamasaki from Rotary. It was a traditional Japanese dinner with several small dishes, new tastes for many of us. Before sleep in a club house at the university everyone got their new costumes for the festival, so beautiful! We sleep this night the Japanese way on tatami mats and futons.

-マネージャーさん

Manager-san

[Blog] 4th of August – Uraja

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Monday 4th of August started early. We were ready at a quarter past six at the hotel lobby for departure to Kōchi. But because of the weather, typhoons, rain, flood and closed roads the bus was cancelled.

Our Japanese dancer and collaborator went to the bus station to change the tickets to an evening bus, the others could go to bed again until time for check out.

Everyone were quite tired after the weekend, but also happy after having experienced a real Japanese festival. In Okayama you dance Uraja which means demon. There are two important persons, Momotaro, The Peach Boy and Uraja, The Demon who you can see everywhere.You can also see them at the station, one at the front and the other at the back, as statues.

The dance Uraja is not the same as yosakoi, but quite similar. Saturday and Sunday you could see a lot of parades. The one we saw went on for four hours and there were around twenty teams participating. In all 144 teams participated in the festival.

We participated in two parades dancing Uraja, and the evening dances but before there were training for everyone, face painting and after we had to do some preparations for Kōchi, so it was a long day.

The members in Zyka Yosakoi get a lot of attention, both as viewers and as dancers. Everyone think it’s cool with a Swedish team, that we dance yosakoi and that we are going to Kōchi to dance.

Anyone who doesn’t like photos are now used to it. They take photos with and without the Japanese and us, we have been in the news at TV and as well as interviewed for two newspapers. And the Yosakoi-festival haven’t even started yet.

Not only the dance is important, there are also rules about how to behave. The teams are quite big and the team walks in a row when moving not to block the way. You always greet the other teams with a Japanese word that means good working, you smile, you are in time.

And in the evening Monday we are still in Okayama. Today there have not been a bus or a train for Kōchi. Half past seven when our bus ought to leave the roads were still closed and in Kōchi it was raining heavily.

So this afternoon have been spent along the river Asahi with the Okayama castle behind doing practise for the parade in Kōchi and trying the new flags.

This night we will spend at the same hotel as earlier hoping for the rain in  Kōchi to stop and our bus to leave in the morning. There are a lot of work waiting for us in  Kōchi before the festival!

 

Practising in Okayama

Practice in Okayama

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Trying out our new flags

 

– マネージャーさん

Manager-san

[Blog] 2th of August 2014

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We have now been in Japan for two full days. The schedule has been full since our arrival on the 31th of July so in the evening we are all rather tired. But it has so far been fun days with lots of things to see and do. Yesterday, on the 1th, we did some sightseeing, like visiting Kurashiki, an old village near by here. And we went to karaoke!

 

Today it was time for one of the main events of this trips, the Uraja festival! We spent most of the day watching different teams taking part in the parade. In the evening we saw fireworks at the river here in Okayama. It was very crowded but the fireworks were beautiful and there were lots of tasty festival food to try.

 

And tomorrow it is time for yet anther big event in this trip, we are participating in on of the parade. Not as Zyka but in an open group that performs the official Uraja dance. Only 80 people can take part though so we need to get up bright and early to be there in time! And now, time to sleep. Good night everyone.

 

P.S. Pictures will come as soon as we have the time to upload them! We promise.

– Oushou and Iruka?

 

[Blog] 30th of July 2014

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It is soon time to leave for the airport. The last few days have been a blur of preparation and last-minute practice. All of us are looking forward to finally going and even if it has been, and will be, ups and down we hope it will most of all be lots of fun. We are flying to Osaka via Dubai and will then take a bus to Okayama which is the first leg of our journey. There we will participate in the yearly Uraja festival!

We will do our best to update about what we are up to and how things are going so please look forward to both that and photos in the next few weeks!

– 王将

Oushou

 

行ってきます!! \\(≧▽≦)// Leaving for Japan ~ ♫

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Finally it’s time for Zyka to leave for Japan! We have a total travelling time of 22 hours+ to look forward to….but with all of Zyka travelling together it will hopefully feel like no time at all ^^ Please wish us good luck in Okayama and Kochi!

★ Japan, here we come~~~!!! ★

\\( > ◡ < )//

 

PS. We’re back and welcoming new members in September. Looking forward to meet a lot of new people then! 😉