So, the main event! (thereby losing all credibility on being punctual with my posts….)
We arrived at the Oga festival hall and the outside area had such a festival atmosphere (as we were to find out later). The show itself was an amalgamation of traditional Japanese dances and songs from all over the country (I initially thought it was just Akita, but as it transpired, it wasn’t). The program included:
– Folk songs from Akita
– Sado-Okesa (a traditional dance from Niigata prefecture)
– A Lion Dance and Eisa (drums) performance from Okinawa
– Namahage-Daiko (by far my favourite) which was a a drum performance by people dressed as the local demons/deities called Namahage
Here is (hopefully) a video of the performance:
After the performances, we stepped outside to the sight of all the performers lining the entrance and applauding (shouldn’t it have been the other way around?). We were just getting over being overwhelmed by this fantastic group of performers when the fireworks started going off. Now these weren’t just ordinary fireworks – they were amazingly complex!
Even after this, we were allowed 20 mins at the festival outside where there was a giant (and I mean about the size of a double-decker bus) drum with people sitting on the top.
On another side, there was a display of Kanto. This is a traditional Akita display where the males balance reeeeeally big bamboo poles with lit lanterns on them. It sounds easy, but these things way at least 9 kilos. The females beat a complex rhythm on a huge drum and play numerous flutes to direct the other males who are chanting.
Next time: AIU Festival! またね！