Although as a dance form, Awaodori has a 400 year long history it was not properly formalized until the first half of the last century and one of the first teams to form that still exists today is the legendary Gojyahei, which formed in 1946. This team is active in the main Awaodori festival down in the southern Tokushima prefecture and when it performs there it can field about 300 dancers and musicians in one go. Here in Tokyo we very rarely get to see teams that are that large or with that kind of fame so naturally I made sure to visit one of their very few guest appearances in Tokyo, at the KITTE in front of Tokyo Station in the Marunouchi district. The performance was absolutely flawless, as can be expected, and much too short for my liking. Even the Tokushima prefecture maskot (Sudachikun すだちくん, after the Tokushima citrus fruit the sudachi) made an appearance and showed remarkable dancing skills for such a plump figure!
The event was part of a promotional campaign for Tokushima prefecture, with performances at the massive Furusato Matsuri in Tokyo Dome as well as several performances by Tokushima teams and local Tokyo teams at Haneda Airpot. I have still never visited Tokushima prefecture, but one day I hope to gather enough courage to do so. In my mind Tokushima prefecture is the most attractive and fantastic of all Japanese prefectures, maybe I am afraid to be disappointed!
While visiting the ancient city of Nara I met this not quite so ancient mascot of a famous Donut chain, the Pon De Lion! He was swamped most of the time so I had to wait to get these clear shots of him. Mister Donut lovers will note that his assistant, the lovely girl in the first photo, is wearing a vintage uniform from the 1970’s! I have no idea why I know these things. The place is also interesting as it is right on the entrance of Nara’s famous covered shopping streets and most people who have visited Nara from the nearby train station has probably passed through here. If you are a big Mister Donut fan, you’ll probably have to visit the latest shop at Tokyo’s Sky Tree!
More photos from the mini Nebuta Matsuri in Tokyo’s Shibuya district last weekend! The first time I saw the nebuta matsuri was here in Shibuya, and I didn’t really get the costumes or the strange melody of the flutes, but the more I see it the more I get it and now I think I am hooked. One of these days I have to make my way up north to Aomori prefecture and see this festival “in the wild”!
Just like last year (see my blog here and here) Shibuya threw a mini-Nebuta Matsuri this weekend. You might remember the posts about the much bigger Nebuta Matsuri in Western Tokyo last month. The floats in this mini festival is much smaller than the real things but still look pretty impressive. The strangely addictive Nebuta flutes and drums really helped setting the amotsphere and the kids sent down from a high school and a university in Aomori prefecture were as lively as always!