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.
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.
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!