[Blog] Thank you for all this time!

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During Christmas Eve 2011 I was sitting with Peantus in the kitchen in a student dorm in Japan, looking in a dictionary for a good name for the yosakoi team I had convinced her to start with me. And thus Zyka YOSAKOI was born.

2012 – Zyka’s first camp

Over five years has gone since that day and Zyka has gone from four people dancing in my living room, doing our best not to hit to many things in the process, to a team with two original performances, more members, international performances and so much more. Through all of this I have been the leader of Zyka.

2013 – Performance at Ytterjärna Kulturhus

It has been a honour and a joy to see the team grow and the members come to love yosakoi just like I do. It has not always been an easy road, many of us are strong willed, me maybe most of all. But while there of course has been difficult times, fights among the members and opinions that no matter what stay far far apart I honestly believe that the amount of joy and fun we have shared over the years is far more than the amount of sadness, anger and misery we have gone through at times. We have done great things together, and I am sure more great things are waiting for us in the future.

2014 – Zyka in Japan (Photo: Tilda Dalunde)

But five years is a long time and in the beginning of this year I came to the conclusion that it was time for both me and Zyka to move on, and that it wasn’t me who was to take Zyka down the road to the unknown future that awaited us. I love Zyka and always will, but it is time for me to focus on other things and Zyka deserves a leader with full focus on the team. So for that reason the leadership was handed over to WHOlock (Amanda Carleson) who was chosen as the new leader at the team’s annual meeting in spring this year. I ask that you show WHOlock the same support and encouragement that you have shown me through the years.

2015 – Zyka and Sweden Taiko at Etnografiska museet

So at the 22nd of April this year I did my last performance as leader of Zyka at the Cherry blossom festival organised by Stockholm Japanese Society. Zyka performed with Yosakoi Naruko Odori, the first yosakoi dance of them all, as well as a more modern one together with Japanese children who joined us especially for this performance and dancers from the Try Yosakoi Project. It was a great event, and though our practice time together was short the children did their best and we had a great performance together. Many thanks to Stockholm Japanese Society for allowing us to be part of such a great performance!

2016 – Zyka at Stockholm Kulturnatt

And with this my five years as leader of Zyka came to and end. I will of course stay a member of the team and do my best to help Zyka continue to develop best I can. I look forward to what awaits us and where WHOlock as the new leader is going to take the team.

2017 – Zyka at Stockholm Cherry Blossom Festival

Thank you to all members of Zyka, past and present, for allowing me to continue leading the team for so many years and for choosing to be a part of this crazy idea that I convinced Peanuts to make reality of with me back in the winter of 2011. And thank you to all of those who are, or who have been, supporting our team in different ways during this time. I am immensely thankful for all the help and encouragement you have given.

Thank you for all this time!

 

 

– 王将

Oushou

 

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Spring Up-date!

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Spring Up-date!

Hello everyone!

It has been awhile since our last blogg update but Zyka has had a busy spring with several performances. At Stockholms Japanese organisations new years celebration, at Fuzzcon and Gotlands nations Japanese fika in Uppsala among other ones. Performances are always a good chance to meet new people, see new places and spreading Yosakoi across Sweden, all while having fun dancing!

Our biggest performance was at the Cherry blossom festival in Stockholm in april. We danced two for us new dances, the yosakoi classic Naruko odori and up-beat Everybody Koiya. Naruko odori was the first yosakoi dance ever made so it felt special to get back to the roots of the dance. We also had a workshop for kids to come and dance with us and we all performed Everybody Koiya together, it was very fun and appreciated.

Now we have one more performance before taking summer hollidays until the end of august.

 

Whoロ-ク

[News] Yosakoi ambassadors

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As you probably know by know Zyka Yosakoi’s Oushou and WHOlock has been appointed yosakoi ambassadors by the Kouchi Prefecture in Japan. The formal cermony took place on the 12th of August, last day of the Kouchi yosakoi festival. WHOlock has written a few blog posts about their trip to Kouchi, you can find them here, here and here.

While the position of yosakoi ambassdor is personal the whole team is shares the honour and duties of it. As for the duties they are yet to be clearly defined. But for now we are tasked with spreading yosakoi in and outside of Sweden and giving people a chance to experience it.

Zyka Yosakoi has, for now, chosen to do this through the following four ways:

1. Educating about yosakoi and spreading knowledge about it through social media such as twitter, facebook and instagram.
2. Continue to work with YEN to find and connect more yosakoi dancers from all over Europe.
3. Support the international team Yosakoi Europe United Team Rikuryoku Kyoushin that aims to go to Kouchi yosakoi festival next year and there by give many new people a chance to experience both yosakoi and the Kouchi festival.
4. Support the International Yosakoi Festival to be held in Sweden in 2018 under the organisation of Zyka’s Oushou and Raiden’s Anne.

Through these four ways Zyka hope to even further spread the knowledge of yosakoi and give more people an opportunity to experience the joy we all find in it.

[Blog] 30th of August – Final days in Japan

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Final days in Japan

There are still 2 days in Japan I haven’t told you about! The festival was the 10-12 of august, last blog post was about the 10th.

On the 11th we started with sightseeing in Kochi castle. Very beautiful! After lunch we split up in pairs to experience the yosakoi festival together with a team from Kochi. Me and Oushou had the pleasure to join the team Central, which is very cool! Central is a team that has existed for a long time and are very good. Waiting for their performance with them was like seeing the festival backstage, sitting in a street next to the parade street that was full with waiting yosakoi teams. When they performed we got to ride in the truck playing music, called Jikatasha in Japanese. They had real instruments on the truck that played the music live! Standing up there watching them perform was so amazing! We really got to feel the atmosphere.

From Central’s truck

After the performance we continued watching other teams performing. Yosakoi is fun because it can be so many different things, all the dances we saw were so different. We also got to try being “competition venue staff”, meaning giving medals to good dancers. Nervous but fun! They were all so good, it was hard to choose who to give the medals too.

After dinner it was time for the biggest, coolest, most important performance: On Otetsuji in the evening. We lined up along the street before the parade street, other teams in front and behind us. The sky was dark, but the spotlights on the parade street was so bright. If you peeked between waiting trucks you could see silhouettes of dancers against the bright lights and hear their music. All waiting dancers were filled with anticipation, so strong you could feel it in the air. Finally it was our turn. It went really well, and was so much fun! This time we could hear our music, luckily. I enjoyed it fully, and I think everyone else did too.

This was sadly our last performance with Yosakoi Kokusai Koruy Tai. We had a dispersal ceremony after were the leaders thanked us for joining and we them.

Oushou and WHOlock with some of the other ambassadors

The 12th was the last full day in Japan. We started with visiting a Buddhist temple at Godaisan mountain and got to try meditating. The temple was very beautiful, tatami rooms with sliding doors opened up to a traditional garden.

One of the reasons we came to Kochi was to be formally appointed ambassadors at a ceremony. This was held midday at the Kochi castle stage. Very formal, all of us lined up on the staged, got a diploma by the governor and bowed. Each team also got a really big flag which had to be sent home by mail as it couldn’t fit in the luggage.

We spent the entire afternoon watching performances. The last day it is only the best teams performing and everyone was so good! Really inspiring. Before dinner we got some time to relax in an onsen, because dinner was an important, formal, affair with lots of important people. We both talked to a lot of different people, dancers, festival organisers from Tokyo , business men from Kochi, and many others. Mostly Oushou since I don’t speak japanese but I did my best. The organisers had made a video with material from the first two days which was very fun to see. The evening ended with everyone dancing a traditional dance together which was very fun.

Some of the ambassadors had a goodbye party at the hotel were we made plans for future work and cooperation. After intense packing and some sleep me and Oshou left the hotel before 6 am following morning.

So that was our Japan trip! Really great, meeting new people, seeing amazing performances, dancing in Kochi again and lots of tasty food! I look forward to returning next year with our international team!

Thank you everyone in Kochi for making this experience possible!

WHOlock, Ho-san from Central and Oushou

 

– WHOロック?

WHOlock

[Blog] 10th of August

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Third day in Japan!

Last night we saw the firework show, it was really great! Over an hour long. The organisers of the trip had gotten us seats where we could see everything. It was so much people, really festival atmosphere. The best part was when fireworks ran down from a long rope into the river. We went with the raiden members and members from koidokai, todoroki and hinodemai met us there. There were even smile fireworks!

The hotell we are staying at is really fancy! We have a pool, a really nice onsen and get a buffet breakfast!

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This morning all ambassadors were finally gathered. We had a meeting at the prefecture’s office about the project and then training with members from the team we perform with here. We trained in a park, the sun was really hot. Everyone had learned the dance quite well from the videos we got so it went well. Our first preformance was in front of the prefecture office with all their staff watching. In the team there are 140 members, the biggest team I have danced in! It was really cool to dance with such a big group.

The next preformace was a parade in a shopping street, the longest parade in kochi. That preformance was delayed so we had to wait a long time by the yosakoi shrine. I don’t know how many times we danced, we got tired but it was so much fun! 😀 the next one was at otetsuji, the most important parade street in kochi. We couldn’t hear our music at all, the neighbouring streets team was so loud! But we managed. We had one more preformance, at the stage in front of kochi castle. It was cool to see all the members around us a we danced.

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After 2 years, we came back and danced in kochi. So much fun! A different and new experience from last time.

Dinner was eaten at the hotell, japanese traditional food. Tasty! It was nice to spend time together with the other ambassadors and get to know them better, both from the other yen teams and sakuramai from toronto. Now we are going to relax in the onsen!

– WHOロック?
WHOlock

[Blog] 8th of August

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Day one Japan trip

Oshou and Wholock is in Japan! But why?

It started in april when zyka was contacted by Kouchi’s prefecture. They have started a new project to spread yosakoi over the world and contacted the teams in Europe and one in Canada to ask if we wanted to be yosakoi ambassadors and help with their mission. Such an honour! Two or three members from each team was chosen as representatives of the team. From zyka Oshou and me, wholock, were chosen. Zyka have since its start worked to spread yosakoi and knowledge of yosakoi in Sweden and will continue with that, now with cooperation from Kouchi’s prefecture.

Part of the individual ambassadorship will be to participate in Kouchi’s yosakoi festival, dance with an international team, watch performances and accept our official documents. Its all very official! So now we are here. The festival will start tomorrow night, with a great firework show!

Its great to be back in Kouchi again. Feels a bit nostalgic from the last time we were here with all of Zyka. This time there is no thypoon so the weather is warm and sunny. I went to the beach earlier today, very beautiful and giant waves. Unfortunately swimming was forbidden.

Tomorrow the other participants will arrive and we will all live at the same hotell and do a lot of activities together so that will be fun. Tonight we are meeting Katsuda, who lives i  Kouchi and danced with zyka when we were here 2014. Hisashiburi!

– WHOロック?
WHOlock

[Blog] 18th of June

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2016-06-18 13.39.17Today Oushou and Peanuts met with Ikeda-san and Sugimoto-san from Kouchi prefectures tourism department. They came all the way from Japan to meet with us and take about a future project Zyka is participating in.

Kouchi is working hard to spread yosakoi across the world and as all of us in Zyka love yosakoi this is of course something we want to support and participate in!

White it is still too early to reveal all that much about the project Zyka is very happy to get a chance to participate and we work hard to spread yosakoi in Sweden and the rest of Europe.

More news about the project we are participating will come, so keep and eye out for that!

Thank you Ikeda-san and Sugimoto-san for coming all the way to see us. We look forward to meeting you again.

You can follow their work on their facebook page.

– 王将

Oushou