The other team which we are dancing together with travelled with bus from Tokyo during the night. We were worried that the typhoon would stop them, but they arrived to Kochi at lunch on Saturday the 9th of August.
We left the university for a hotel in Kochi, Trump, the other team fetched us with their bus and we had a nice lunch at the food market.
Lunch at Hirome-ichiba
After checking in we had dinner all together, a real Japanese dinner. The team Trump has members of all ages, around 30 persons, really nice to meet them finally. The collaboration started in winter and there has been a lot of conversation on internet, but it is always nicer to meet people in person.
Then the first practice together! It’s fascinating that it is possible being two teams on different sides of the planet making a dance together, and then meet and realise that works!
Now we only hope for the festival. We have heard that they will decide tomorrow morning if it will be cancelled or not. The highway is closed and the train isn’t running. The typhoon is now expected sometime in the night. We will see in the morning!
Practice in the morning as usual on the 8th of August. The plan for this day was to have a bit of sightseeing. Depending of the heavy raining people meant it was dangerous to go to some of the places we had hoped to, the famous bridge from the yosakoi movie for example. But we had lunch together with people from the university, teachers, students and also two Swedish students from Gothenburg. We got a lunch box, a kind of bento, with a lot of different Japanese food which we all liked.
Heavy rain at the yosakoi shrine
And then we went sightseeing in Kochi. Four students guided us. We took the tram to the city centre and visited Kochi castle and we also visited the shrine of the God of yosakoi to ask for the festival to happen and the rain to stop. It was raining heavily so strolling around in the “shoutengai”, a shopping street with roof, were appreciated. The highlight of this street was the visit at the Honiya shop. Honiya is one of the best teams in Japan and are based in Kochi. They are also the team dancing in the movie we had watched, “Kimi ga oduro natsu” (You Dance With the Summer). In the shop we could watch a lot of the costumes from the movie and a lot of photos. You could also buy a lot of things connected with yosakoi. We spent a lot of time here.
Oushou at the yosakoi shrine
Finishing the day at the food market was nice. You could buy different food in the stand around. Some of us tried the fish speciality from Kochi, a kind of tuna which are a little grilled and cut in slices. It was served on a bowl with rice. A dish we could have again!
Hirome-ichiba, the food market in Kochi
The Japanese girls got an SMS that everyone were expected to start going home because of the typhoon. It was expected to arrive in the night. They described it as if it came you wouldn’t be able to go outside. We went home, had a nice evening with games and Japanese bath. We all hoped the typhoon to come quickly so it would pass quickly. But when we woke up next morning it hadn’t arrived yet.
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.
Satsui finishing the details on Springtime
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.
Part of First snow and Midwinter put together
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.
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.
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.
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.
Satsui, Amigu and Park doing the base sketching for the painting
Iruka? in the front and Satsui in the back paining on Midwinter
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.
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!
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.