Tag Archives: Numata

Dance Recital Madness 2012

At the end of February for the last 5 years I’ve had the pleasure of going to not one, but two kindergarten dance festivals.

I’m invited!

  

I even get VIP seating at one of them … while I just lurk around at the back of the gym at the other one.

  

At one, I get 30 or 40 kids sitting in the crowd calling my name … and I do my famous “walking down imaginary stairs” move … and sometimes “going down an imaginary elevator” move. I haven’t pulled out “rowing in an imaginary canoe” trick yet … maybe next year.

At the other, I just lurk … and get the occasional nod  … or low flying punch of recognition from kids who see me. This year one kid crawled through my legs without me knowing until the last second.

At one, half the parents wonder who the hell I am … at the other they wonder who the hell I am.

At both, parents keep looking around for a half Japanese kind of kid on stage.

At both, the parents seem to be getting younger.

At both, the kids seem to stay about the same age.

At both, I enjoy a couple of hours of kids in costumes on stage for the first or second or third time of their lives dancing their hearts out to a biased audience … with extensive video equipment.

note: I kind of liked the dinosaurs this year.

 double note: the other of the Big Three are here:

Numata Matsuri 2008 / Numata Matsuri 2009

Kinder Olympics / When Was The Last Time?

Dance Recital Madness / Dance Recital Madness: Day 2 / Another Of The Big Three

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Today #352

Today turned out better than I thought it would: I shouldn’t doubt Sundays.

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Sometimes Advertising Works … Out

 

I think I’d enjoy RITMOStly … except for that guy.

 

note: this poster was outside the gym. All I know is that I’ve never seen anyone like the people in the poster at the gym … except for the guy.
I must go at the wrong time … or something.

double note: the only poster I might have a shot at is a wanted poster, but it’s a long shot.

triple note: I’m sure the people in the poster will be glad to have this poster 10 years from now … for posterity.

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Today #161

Today was a “wham bam thank you ma’am” sort of day … without the ma’am.

An Update

 

Just an update to say that the area in which I live is fine.

There have been a few big aftershocks over the last few days, but no damage: 4am in the morning seems to be a popular time for them.

Life is continuing fairly normal here: the garbage trucks pick up the garbage on garbage day, the stores are open and have stock, the schools and most businesses are still open.

This area isn’t in the rolling power outage affected area: probably because there are so many hydro-electric dams close by. I don’t know if that is actually the reason, but gas, water, and electricity are running normally.

People have been asked to use less electricity.

The company I work for decided to close up until Sunday. I think the availability of gasoline was a major factor. Who wants to waste their gasoline driving their kids to English and Cram school classes?

So, apart from visiting a local kindergarten this morning, I’m just chillin’ at home for the rest of this week.

I’m stressed about the nuclear reactors in Fukushima, but I’m more stressed about the people who are a lot closer to them than I am, than I am about radiation coming here.

It’s a bit surreal sitting at home, with the same comforts as I did last week, knowing that now thousands/millions of people to the north of here are suffering … and there isn’t much I can do; except stay calm, save electricity, stuff money into charity boxes, and hope for the best for them. … but it’s the best I can do.

It’s just like last week, but extremely different somehow.

 

note: I am in awe of the nuclear power plant staff who have been working around the clock over the last 4 days in Fukushima, the Japan Defense Forces who have been getting relief to the affected areas, the disaster teams from other countries, the Japan Government who seem to be doing the best they can, and the people of Japan for not freaking out.

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Today # 150

Today I realized that I use a lot of things that I don’t really need to use as much.

Another Of The Big Three!

It was the best of times, it was the end of Februaryist of times.

One of “The Big Three” on my calendar has come and passed again … like gas … or wind … or farts. It’s also past … or over … or not happening again for another year.

Dance Recital Madness 2011 was a lot like last year and the year before but with different kids … or the same kids, but a year or two older … and with different costumes.

One kindergarten went with a colour theme: all the major colours were represented. Teal was overlooked.

The other kindergarten’s dancers’ costumes were colourful too, but they didn’t represent anything I guess.

For a week or two afterwards I say things like:

– “You were a super Super Ninja Shadow!”
– “I liked the Frog Dancers … a lot!”
– “Hey! Cowboy!”
(enthusiastic imaginary pistol shooting mannerisms accompany this response)
– “You were the best raindrop out of the bunch.”
– “I really thought you were a Mexican!”
– “Next year I’m sure you will get to be a dinosaur.”
– “Nice cartwheel!”
– “I was a tomato when I was your age too!”

I wish I was 4 years old again: I’m sure I’d be the best raindrop.

 

note: the past “Big Three” are here:

Numata Matsuri 2008 / Numata Matsuri 2009

Kinder Olympics / When Was The Last Time?

Dance Recital Madness / Dance Recital Madness: Day 2

double note: I didn’t miss last year’s “Big Three“, I just took worse photos than this year’s … and thought I’d give it a break for a year.

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Today #143

Today I dropped the thermometer, but it didn’t get any colder for some reason.

Landmarked Up

 

I’m glad there are landmarks:

… if there weren’t, I wouldn’t know what cities were being destroyed in all those disaster movies.

 

note: In the event a of catastrophic human extinction type natural disaster, I’m going to Disneyland … because it never gets wiped out in those disaster movies.
… probably there wouldn’t be any line-ups either.

double note: are there any seamarks?

triple note: Dr. Mori is a landmark of sorts for people driving by the city where I live. I still don’t know what the hell he is selling!

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Today #43

Today left me scratching my head … or maybe the student with headlice did.

When I’m Sick, I Sometimes Go To …

used tickets remind me of hangovers

A ROCK ‘N ROLL SHOW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

the 50s are alive and well

Mr. Pettit  and myself attended this 50’s party a few nights ago.  Walking into it was like walking into the Twilight Zone: greasers, fancy suits with two toned shoes, poodle dresses, bowling shirts, big hair, …

It was awesome.

We are the Spaniels not the Pharoahs!

People “strolling“, “jiving“,  “twisting” and ” shake, rattle, and rolling” everywhere.

1, 2, 3, o'clock

200 odd people … but not odd really … just a subculture of 50’s Rock ‘N Roll  officianados alive and well in the back of beyond Japan having a good time.

The Shirelles! ... well not really, but not too bad.

When I start to think about, it’s not really so strange: good music, good dancing, and fun.

As we were the only foreigners in attendance, I thought it was bizarre.
After thinking about it, it seemed pretty normal.
I wasn’t dancing  in the 50’s … and neither were most of these people. They just like the music and so do I.

Four bands played the classics and some songs that were great but just hadn’t made it through the filtered version of the 50’s that I grew up with.

possibly in a B52s cover band maybe

I’ll be going to the next one … and I’m sure I won’t have to twist Mr. Pettit‘s arm too hard to come with me.

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note: my version of the 50’s comes mostly from “American Graffiti” and “Happy Days” sadly. I was born too late … but I’d probably be really old if I was.

double note: I ended up dancing with an 81 year old woman for most of the night. She is a former #1 dancer in Japan … so I was honored.

triple note: sorry all the photos are crap: I left my camera at home and took these images with the phone camera.

quadruple note: I thought there were going to be 5 bands … until I realized that “gest” meant “guests“.

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notes to myself #41

You know those dance moves you do at 13 years old?
They will last you a lifetime.

 

The Video: Really Bad Things

 Here is a little video Kelly Pettit  and I made.
It’s a mixture of the “Really Bad Things” series with a bunch of new ones thrown in too!

 

 

 note: a very very very very special “thank you” to Kelly Pettit  who did all the work on this one: director, producer, cinematographer, sound engineer, and most especially editor. I really couldn’t have done this with out his expertise in things I know nothing about.
He also carried half the pool table around with me looking silly for a few hours.
Kelly rocks!!!!

double note: I should have smiled more in this video.

triple note: Really Bad Things, More Really Bad Things, and Still More Really Bad Things are still being bad.

 

notes to myself #10

When you are 9 years old do not do Morris’ paper route for him. He’s not going to pay you; and him and his dad are douche b … oh! … you don’t know those words yet! … they are jerks.

Dance Recital Madness: Day Two

After the big show on Saturday, I thought Sunday’s offering would prove anti-climactic.  I was wrong.

I collected my program at the entrance, bought a bottle of milk from a vendor, and entered the darkened auditorium.
The place was filled to the rafters with an expectant crowd: many of the women seemed to be expecting more kids soon too!

The hall was humming with excited chatter; while others in the audience just seemed to be humming for some reason.

I thought this must have been what it was like in The Cavern Club in Liverpool before The Beatles came on stage.

In this more intimate setting without seating, the  moshpit area was jammed with people full of excitement, anticipation, and extensive video equipment.

Whereas the Saturday show pandered to an older generation from a few generations ago, this one started with a …

David Bowie Medley/Montage/Re-envisionment …  retrospectively speaking.

ground control to Major Crybaby!

 Space Oddity.      Ground Control to Major Tomohito.

having a bad day in front of a lot of people

I guess one of the dancers didn’t like floating in his tin can far above the Earth. He seemed blue like planet Earth and there was nothing anyone could do … until they closed the curtain.

Sin... Bad Dancers

There was a bit of The Jean Genie next.  Poor little greenie.

too cute

I must have missed this Bowie reincarnation, but it was pretty good anyway.

possible Grease #5 dancers

Let’s Dance was next.  It had everyone swaying under the serious moonlight.

Blue Jeans

It finished up with Blue Jeans.  
They didn’t do any of that Tin Machine crap thankfully.

I was a bit disappointed nothing from the Hunky Dory album was done though.

It seemed to seamlessly stream in to a Japanese Pop Music driven section for a while.

future girl band

Girl band stuff.

 future boy band

 Boy band stuff.

The end of the program got really out of control with some sort of experimental, sci-fi, fantasy, conceptual, re-interpretationalistic routines.

The Go-Ongers!!!!!

 Boys in quasi- Power Ranger costumes doing what they usually do after a few chocolate bars: punch, kick, scream, and run around a lot.

camera shy

 And the finale were some camera shy kimono clad groovers doing something traditional in an attempt to cool down the crowd so they could possibly drive home sensibly and not forget to leave their empty milk bottles with the vendor on the way out.

Overall the performances were very strong, like sniffing a bleach bottle; hard driving, like a tricycle on a muddy day; and edgy like 1,000 origami cranes.

The performers left it all on the stage … along with a few pompoms and assorted hats.
The 4 to 6 years old kids made their statement:

This is me. This is real. This is what I am: love it or hate it … you can’t stop it.   Now I am spent and need help getting out of my costume … and I may need a nap too.” 

 

The Beatles

Hey! I knew The Beatles would show up in some form or another.

 

 

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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.

 

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