Tag Archives: festivals

Dance Recital Madness

There are a lot of big festivals in the world: Carnival, Oktoberfest, Burning Man. The list goes on and on …

and somewhere in the middle of that list is the …

“Numata Kindergarten Dance Festival”.

This is the first of the BIG 3 Events on my calendar: the others being the Numata Matsuri  and Kinder-Olympics.    My calendar isn’t very big I guess.

I was lucky enough to get free tickets to not one, but two venues this year.

I hear all of you pulling your hair and screaming “No Way!” and “Some people have all the luck!” … and all I have to say is, “Yes Way!!!” and “Yes, I’m usually this lucky on a regular basis!!!” … and yes I usually reply to statements with more exclamation marks than the statement maker used.

It was a 2 day non-stop, full-on, dawn to dusk/dusk to dawn, spectacular, extravaganza that lasted for about 2 hours on Saturday afternoon and 1 hour and 45 minutes on Sunday morning.

The first venue was at the city’s Culture Center. I don’t know who figured out where the center of culture in this city is, but I think it should be a lot closer to my place.


I was a bit late, so the crazy crowds were already stacked and racked inside.

blurry but good

 If it was your first time at the big festival, you’d probably expect a lot of kimono wearing fan waving mumbo jumbo … and the dancers didn’t disappoint.

not blurry

They rocked the house with all their amazing hand and foot work. It was like yoga, but with a pulse!


 Next came the parasol toting kimono wearing group. There was a lot of twirling and intricate walking around done.

dog walking

Who let the dogs out? … and the parasols?

 Where's Mr. Bo Jangles?

Then there were incredible vaudevillians to entertain the crowd. I think the one on the left tried to do a cartwheel!!!

 I'm a little teapot variation #7

The “Egg Cap Kids” came on to liven up an already ecstatically frenzied crowd.

 red shoes

Just when you thought things couldn’t get more out of hand, “The Rockettes” showed up to show off their fancy dipping and side-to-side moves … while wearing red shoes and everything.

 more red shoes

All the dancers’ fluid movements were accompanied by music from the era before words were invented.
It was like poetry and music combined, but without any poetry stuff.
I guess the dancers were so great they made the songs speechless!

 possibly wigs

When everyone thought it was all over and were ready to take their video cameras and accost strangers on the street with video highlights, the “White Hair Shakers” came out.

And then it was all over and everyone left sweaty and in silence … probably because they’d been dancing in their seats and lost their voices from screaming so much … or were thinking about what to eat for dinner and why the heating in the hall was turned so high.


DAY 2 … tomorrow!


Numata Festival 2008: phlanetrosswithanh!

The following is a response to Single for a Reason‘s challenge of “Me Trying to Be You“. I’ve chosen the amazing nathaliewithanh‘s blog to emulate. If I’ve fallen short, it will be enough.


It was that time of year again. I’d seen the posters plastered everywhere: on walls, sides of buildings, and outside the insides of buildings. It was time for the yearly festival that happens every year annually.

Numata is a quiet city for 362 days a year, except for leap years when it’s quieter for an extra day. Usually the most well attended events are funerals or hospital waiting room waiting areas.

But for 3 glorious days in August, it comes alive and is lively like a living thing. It’s like one of those birds or insects that only lives for 3 days before dying, and then does it all again the next year.

So I packed my extensive camera equipment into one of my shorts’ pockets, checked my other pockets for beer money, and made the long 20 minute walk to the festivities.

No one invited me, but I went anyway.

I ran in to some of my students, that I know and teach, coming from a wifebeater convention possibly. I like the 2 in the middle because I don’t teach them yet. Their mother is single glandedly trying to re-populate Japan (the youngest sibling is missing).

On the mainstreet there were games involving turtle scooping , but check out that kid’s ear!!!

Main street was closed to traffic from 1 to 10pm. This was the real deal!

More students awkwardly posing. That little girl whacked me with the stick in her hand too! Check out Elvis in the background.

Former students off to carry a big phallic symbol around the city.

Phallic symbol previously mentioned, otherwise known as Tengu: woodland spirit and resembling most big nosed foreigners.

Another student. Garbed in festival outfit and sporting a half eaten chocolate banana. He wouldn’t share 😦

Former student and father at the front. Makers of the best cake in town. Carrying the*omikoshi of the festival. *omikoshi = portable shrine.

Then it rained. No biggie; it usually rains, so everyone is prepared or too pissed to care.

Seeking shelter from the storm, I ran across these little urchins who were very impressed with Kelly Pettit‘s “I can detach the final joint of my finger” magic trick. No global warming tricks though: beer drowned my disappointment.

Then it was back to sweaty, drunk, rain-soaked, young, nymphomaniac women carrying around not one but two phallic symbols.  Okay … the nymphomaniac part I’m not sure about … for all of them.

Then the beer kicked in and things got blurry.

Off to the Grand Finale at the Suga Shrine with the 5 invited Dashi* drumming, fluting, and triangling while the Suga Omikoshi did its last frenzied stagger around the Shrine grounds while all the onlookers tried to stay out of its uncontrollable path. *Dashi=pull around floats involving pulling and stuff.

Then it was parked back inside the Suga shrine for another year. And all the festival goers went home and dreamed of the next funeral or hospital waiting room waiting area visit.


I don’t classify myself as a “homer” when it comes to things I miss in Canada, but my adopted city’s festival is a highlight on my calendar. I’ve been to 9 so far and hopefully I make it to another 9 or more in the future. I’d seriously be distressed if I missed the Numata Matsuri.



I’m Back … Barely

I’m back.

I’m going to have to ease back into my blog. I’m out of the groove and not in my zone yet.

So I will start slow with a cute dog dressed up in a festival outfit.

Thanks for checking in, leaving comments, and having a peek while I was away (but not very far away really).

note: I think I need a little hair of the dog today.

Cotton Candy


When I go to festivals I always want to stick my head in the cotton candy machine, and swirl it around until I have a nice big Marie Antoinette hairdo.

The vendor never lets me; something about liability or some other lame excuse.

I guess I’ll have to wait until I go to France.

I hope cotton candy wigs are still in fashion there.


Aquariums in Japan

I’ve just realized that I am an aquarium junkie.

I’ve visited 4 different aquariums in the last year; one of them twice!

After what I’ve written earlier about Animals in Zoos,  https://planetross.wordpress.com/2008/04/08/animal-penal-system/

 I think I am a hypocrite. 

I guess I don’t feel the same way about fish as I do about animals. I do feel sorry for all non-fish creatures at aquariums: I hope that redeems me somehow. Even that is hard; those dolphins and sea lions always look so damn happy during the shows.

But the fish… I have no sympathy. I guess I’m heartless. I like to rationalize it by thinking it’s better to be in an aquarium tank than in a restaurant tank or a fisherman’s net.

For the record: there are no sashimi/sushi restaurants at aquariums in Japan. Japanese people have their limits I guess.

I’m not a pet person, but at a local festival I ended up taking home a goldfish someone else had won. I put it in my biggest glass bowl, bought some fish food for it, and was getting all attached to the little bugger. Then it died.

I think it died of happiness; but I could be wrong.

So what do you do with a dead goldfish? I flushed it down the toilet: returning it from whence it came.

I told my Japanese co-worker this and she thought I was strange. I gave her the “returning it from whence it came” argument, but that didn’t work.

She said since it was a pet, I should have buried it.

I think I need to go to a Fish Sensitivity Counselling Seminar.

note: I hope they have fish and chips for lunch.