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芸術。The Fine Arts.

February 26, 2010

For as analytical as I can be at times, I love the arts. Literature, Music, Dance, Painting… the arts go back throughout time, leading humanity to attempt transcending the limited confines of our senses and languages.
Sometimes there’s just a moment when you see something or hear something and you get it. And it has fully gotten you.
In that moment, try to explain it and you will fail miserably.

Sometimes the simple stroke of a brush on paper will mesmerize and lead you off into flights of fancy.
Sometimes the persistence of one note, hanging longer in the air than normally possible, will make you cry.

I wish I could throw myself into the fine arts and be truly accomplished… but I am nothing more than a simple girl with a lowly and mediocre understanding of structuring words into … something.

These ancient and traditional arts transport me far back into a time before my own history was even imagined.

But there is one thing I am looking forward to above all others! YOSAKOI!
“Yosakoi (よさこい) is a unique style of dance that originated in Japan. Yosakoi started in the city of Kōchi in 1954, as a modern rendition of Awa Odori, a traditional summer dance. Yosakoi-style dancing has spread throughout much of Japan. The style of dance is highly energetic, combining traditional Japanese dance movements with modern music. The choreographed dances are often performed by large teams. Along with a number of professional yosakoi schools and town dance teams, yosakoi is also a popular event during the sports festivals held by Japanese elementary, junior, and senior high schools. Yosakoi participants include men and women of almost all ages – sometimes within a single team.
The costumes used by yosakoi teams vary widely. Happi coats and yukata are the most predominant costumes and can be seen in a wide variety of colors. However, some groups choose costumes that are based on historical attire, popular fashions, or ethnic fashions. Typically, all members of a team wear similar costumes.
One of the defining aspects of yosakoi dance is the use of naruko: small wooden clappers that are held in the hands of each dancer. Naruko were originally used in Kōchi Prefecture to scare birds away from rice fields. The traditional naruko has black and yellow beaters on a wooden body, but most modern yosakoi groups create their own naruko, choosing colors and materials that match their costumes. The use of naruko is required in yosakoi dance, but many groups also use other hand-held instruments or props, such as drums, other percussion instruments, flags, batons, and floats.”
Wikipedia… 🙂

Sapporo has one of the biggest Yosakoi festivals in all of Japan! Thousands of tourists flood into Sapporo every summer for the festival. It’s a huge competition that that the dance teams train all year for. It is held outside in Odori Park, and everyone enjoys the music, the costumes, and the beer gardens. This year, it will be starting right around my birthday! 🙂 And Nicole will be visiting me by then, so she and I will be able to go enjoy it! Here are some of the best performances!

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