Saturday, July 11, 2009

Japanese Street Dancing

Well, it is time for the San Jose Obon Festival, and that means I am volunteering to help cool sushi rice again.

We were introduced to this fun street festival by family friends, who are of Japanese background.

My mother was enamoured of all things Asian (I suspect this might be partly why she was so pleased to adopt 2 little Korean girls). Like her, I also love exploring cultural events featuring Japan, China, and Korean.

Our first time at the festival, the street dancing with all the beautiful kimono just took our breath away! My mother would have LOVED it! Women and men, mostly Japanese of course, but some hapa, white, and even one older black gentleman all swayed in unison. They waved fans, or clicked instruments, graceful as swans. You can click this link to see it on youtube. Make sure the HQ link in the bottom right is set to "high quality" as it looks a lot better.

So, Teddy, being the outgoing sort, wasn't content to just stand on the sidewalk and watch. He actually jumped on line with our friends who were dancing, and joined in. How I wish I had a video of that day! Here are all these lovely, swaying, graceful Japanese people in their gorgeous yukata/kimono, doing these rehearsed dances...and Teddy in the middle of them all, wearing shorts and a dinosaur T-shirt, shaking his booty, no idea of the correct steps and not particularly caring! He hung onto our friend's kimono belt, almost pulling it off her, so she handed him her extra fan to keep his hands busy. He had a GREAT time, and we really enjoyed watching his antics and pretending he was not with us.

The next year, I bought him a Japanese style jacket to wear, the fans and the clackers, and dragged his butt to the practice sessions (link to this year's practice session), only to have him refuse to dance the actual day of the festival. I think that once he understood there were particular steps and motions to the street dancing, he did not feel comfortable just boogeying his way down the street like he did the year before. I danced that year, but figured my Japanese street dancing days were done. It was fun, but a lot of trouble to get to practice without a kid to motivate me.

A year or 2 later, I was drafted to take our friends' daughter dancing. Her parents had gotten sick the weekend of the festival, but Kay really wanted to go. Although I had not gone to the practices this time (they change every year), I was the only one in the immediate family who had ever done any of them. And I had a kimono that I could wear. So I went, and DH stayed on the side with the boys, as they watched me and Kay join in. I didn't know the steps, but I faked it, moving a few seconds behind everyone else in the line as I copied them (gee, just like my ballet recitals when I was 7!). I got many compliments on "my beautiful daughter", and instead of correcting people, I just smiled, nodded, and said Thank you! My mom would have enjoyed that too.

Anyway, I meant to blog about cooling the sushi rice, but I think I'll save that for tomorrow's post since this is turning out a bit long.

1 comment:

  1. Ok I had no idea you took ballet. Knowing my family's dancing prowess, I understand why. Painful memories need to be supressed.


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