We went to Kamiyama’s annual Ginkgo Tree Festival today. It was a beautiful day. Aren’t we cute?!
I think today was the last of my school festivals for this season. When the students return from “summer vacation” (in quotes because they work extremely hard during their vacation time and get very little actual time off) each school has culture festivals, sports days, and other events that last until early October. Today was Jinryo Elementary’s Sports Day. I thought my last festival was the final chance to see Awa Odori for a while, but I was treated to another performance today!
There were several relay races today, and one included several parents dressed in costume!
It was a lot of fun, but I’m exhausted. Time to relax!
I thought my last chance to see Awa Odori was at the Shosanji festival a few weekends ago…but I forgot that the students and some local people perform at school festivals! The elementary school students danced first and then anyone in attendance was invited to join them. This guy was AMAZING!
The little old ladies in the section next to me were fanatically cheering him on and he was dancing up a storm! It was pretty great to see
Now, I’m hopefully that I’ll get one more chance to watch Awa Odori at an upcoming sports day next month. I can’t remember if it happened there last year, but maybe…
I’ve been to two sports days at my schools this weekend. They’re a lot of fun and the students practice for them all during their summer “vacation.” I take a lot of pictures for the schools to use for yearbooks or whatever else they want them for, and also just for me. Unfortunately, I can’t share most of them on the blog because of the Japanese regulations on posting recognizable photos of children online. But I try to shoot a few that are acceptable when I have events like these. This one shows a student leading the rest of the students, teachers, parents, etc. in attendance in the morning’s Radio Taiso:
Radio Taiso is performed before big events (and also at some businesses) as a kind of warmup for the day’s activities. I like that they get a student to lead. Usually a really genki student is selected to set the tone and get everyone motivated to start the day.
I’ll probably post a couple more pictures from the sports days over the next day or two as I get them edited. Hopefully they’ll be a little more interesting than yet another one of my cat or food pics 😉
Tonight we went to one of the best festivals in the area. It’s at our local temple, Shosanji, and has the best fireworks display. I know we’ve posted about it before, but seriously, it’s awesome. You watch from the temple at the top of the mountain and they launch the fireworks from the valley. Talk about up close and personal. I think they launched them a little higher into the air this year, but it was still quite impressive.
I’ve been trying to upload a video to this page, but it won’t let me, so I uploaded it to youtube. Now let’s see if I can get it to show up here…
We went to the annual summer festival at Shosanji temple this evening. Several other ALTs and their friends and family from around Tokushima also came out, which was very nice! We had a great time, danced Awa Odori one last time for the season, and watched an amazing fireworks show. Hopefully Becky will post photos or a video of that…she did a better job of it than I did tonight. I didn’t bring my big camera, so I decided to play around with the motion of the Awa Odori dancers. Nothing too spectacular, but I kind of like the way this one turned out:
We went to the city tonight to watch the lantern festival. I don’t know all of the details about it, but it seems to mark the end of Obon. People make or buy lanterns and write their ancestors’ name and hometown on it. A candle in the center is lit and the lantern is set afloat down the river. It’s a very serene and lovely sight. There was a bit of a log jam at one area and this man was assisting the lanterns on their journey with his umbrella: