Tokyobling's Blog

Kasumiren – 華純連

Posted in Japanese Traditions, People, Places by tokyobling on September 3, 2011

Here’s more photos of one of my favorite Awaodori teams – Kasumiren, 華純連! I don’t know if my photos tell the story correctly but this is really one of the most dedicated teams I have seen. Most teams give their outmost during the last few minutes of their performance but Kasumiren is like that during the entire dance and the members give it all, especially the dancers, both the male roles and the female roles are fantastic, the male roles charging like a drunken army through the crowd while the women perform in complicated patterns while managing to look absolutely graceful.

But Kasumiren has one member that outshines most other dancers I have ever seen, the old gentleman in yellow! He is a master mimic, dancing a complicated but absolutely perfectly calibrated skit of drinking, eating, pouring rice wine and singing with friends, not one step an inch out of line, the slightest hand movement coordinated with the tiniest of raised eyebrows. Absolute perfection. He is a joy to see and the crowds love him! I think his name is Mr. Kumamoto (熊木一美), but I am not sure. When I saw him perform on Sunday he even posed for my camera, doing his famous near perfect hyottoko face (ひょっとこ)! Not to mention the handsome guys, gorgeous ladies and super cute kids!

It’s hard to imagine that this troupe only have 5 years of experience and just less than a hundred members in such a short time. Can’t wait to catch their next performance! There’s two other posts with photos of Kasumiren on this blog, here and here.

Smiling Japan

Posted in Japanese Traditions, People, Places by tokyobling on August 28, 2011

Yesterday I visited the annual Koenji Awaodori festival, one of the biggest festivals in the country with over a million visitors and 12 500 dancers. This year however the festival is mived to daytime rather than evening in order to conserve energy. It feels strange to see this in full daylight but the dancers did their best to keep the festival in high moods! This year the theme is Keep Japan Smiling and as you can see they did a pretty good job! The third day of the event is today and the dancing starts in about 15 minutes. Hurry up!

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