The festival started at 5pm to much fanfare and a crowd that was ready for a show (fan in hand). The nice thing about a 5pm start is that the sun had gone down enough to provide relief from the heat and a breeze was shooting through Koenji.
The festival did not disappoint. The festival was divided in groups of performers (dancers and musicians) playing the same song, doing the same dance with their own variations. Being at the end of the first leg turned out to be a huge advantage as many of the groups held a spectacular finale right in front of us, over and over again.
The first “troupe” on the way.
One thing that became evident very fast was how much the performers were enjoying the festival; focused on giving an amazing performance with broad smiles and a huge amount of energy for the raving crowds.
This performer was banging that drum for all it was worth.
Shortly into the festival the woman next to me started vigorously tapping on my shoulder and trying to talk to me (I thought I was blocking her view). She had a huge smile, was pointing at the upcoming troupe and talking rapidly in Japanese; she obviously wanted me to understand something. Through a series of Japanese phrases, single English words and pointing I worked out that her daughter was in the center and coming. A proud mother and a daughter who loved to perform (bottom middle-left).
The colors on the costumer were bright and spectacular.
Take a look at their shoes. Traditional Japanese wooden shoes called the Geta. They make Dutch wooden clogs look comfortable (a tough task).
And intermingled throughout were the kids (next post) …