Two and a half years ago I posted about one of the great joys of Tokyo, the live jazz street bands that play for free outside some of the major stations, like this band. A couple of weeks ago I happened to see them again in the very same spot, some new members, but the fantastic drummer was still there! You can see a short 45 second clip of him in this video. Before I got my camera ready another photographer (blogger perhaps?) started shooting in front of me. It’s always fun to see other photographers at work!
Winter is here and there’s fewer and fewer festivals, so why not recall the summer with one of the last big summer festivals, the Fukuro Matsuri in Tokyo’s northern Ikebukuro district and the two day Yosakoi festival. Recently the huge yosakoi dance teams are becoming more popular abroad, as there are now teams in the US, Malaysia, Indonesia and even Ghana! The rules of yosakoi is simple, no more than 150 members per team and they have to contain elements of the original yosakoi music as well as use the traditional wooden clappers. Many teams have also started using the huge flags, the bigger the better, that you can see at the end of this post. The flags are so big that only the strongest team members can handle them and the trick is in getting them to swirl gracefully in the air without touching the ground. It really does look impressive. If you are into sequenced dancing and flashy outfits, yosakoi might just be for you!
At the annual two day Yosakoi performance at the Ikebukuro Fukuro Matsuri I took these photos of wonderful kids dancing! I think the youngest dancer I saw must have been about 4 years old, these however, were a little older. Have a great weekend and remember to do something with your time! Get off the Internet and go out dancing!
Summer is over and on comes the sad feeling of not being able to enjoy many more festivals. I know I have probably visited more festivals than 99.9% of the population of Japan this year, but I still crave more. Luckily the big one is coming up soon, the massive Kawagoe Matsuri that I have blogged so much about in the last few years. It’s on this weekend in Saitama prefecture’s Kawagoe City, and if you can only attend one single Japanese festival in your life, this might well be the one to aim for! It’s an easy train ride from Tokyo so there’s no excuse if you’re anywhere near the Kanto area. It’s going to be very very crowded, so if this weeks bad weather continues you might be in for a lucky break, as rain always means fewer people. Still, I wouldn’t expect less than a million people crowded into the narrow streets of Hon-Kawagoe! Talking about crowded streets, here’s a few photos I took at Ikebukuro’s Fukuro Matsuri a month ago. You don’t want to stand in the way of these omikoshi teams!