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!