AMPONTAN

Japan from the inside out

Yakyuken Odori

Posted by ampontan on Tuesday, August 19, 2008

TAKE THE TIME to read Mac’s post on Yakyuken Odori in the Comment section of the Chakkirako post, which you can find on the left sidebar. (I’d link to it if I could figure out how.) Yakyu means baseball and odori means dance. The folks in Matsuyama have created a simple dance out of baseball gestures, which they use for a summer street festival/party in that city. He’s provided plenty of YouTube links.

Some of the points Mac makes are the reasons I write about festivals so much in the hope of bringing them to wider attention. To wit:

“Yakyuken (has) been developed into a mass street dance very much along the lines of the Awa Odori fools’ dance, which can be anything from sweet, charming and serene (think infants to geriatric old kimonoed ladies) to sexy, raucous and insane (think young hot chicks to taiko-driven taekwondo groups) depending on who is dancing it.”

I think the next point is very important:

“It’s great to see, in this day and age, a community get out together breaking all barriers of age and position, and very obviously have fun together.”

Then:

One of the nights took it even further and made it into Yakyuken Samba, which might have lacked an absolute Latin sensuality, (but) was not far behind it and blew any impression of Japan as a stuffy, conservative and uptight society away.

Finally:

“As usual, the crowd was wonderful. All the folks at the front took their shoes off to sit on prepared blue plastic sheets so those behind could see. Infants were left to run free on street with most groups having “sweepers” to catch the lost ones at the end. And it was all cleared away in minutes in military precision. No drunks, no fights, no attitudes.”

Where else but Japan can you find such a combination of fun, sensuality, and responsibility?

And in a nice touch of synchronicity, I’m about to upload a post on another festival with a locally created dance in a different town!

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