Hey guys please check this out! Mad props to Matt for sending it to me. It’s a live performance by Expression Crew out of So Korea. Even though the breakin is at a minimum, I really dig it.
So now to what I really wanted to post about. One of the main reasons that I stayed in Kochi, Japan a few weeks after my contract ended was because I wanted to participate in the biggest festival in Kochi prefecture, Yosakoi. I should know what ‘Yosakoi’ means but I don’t. I hope you can get over that ;-). So every summer, in the second or so-ish week of August(arguably the hottest few days of the year), teams of dancers from all over Kochi, and other prefectures as well come to Kochi City to dance for a few days. What I absolutely loved about it was how the different teams were able to mix modern with traditional; dance styles and music. Some groups threw in Hip Hop, others Reggae, and I even saw one group that had a girl playing electric guitar during the dance. It’s a bit hard to explain to you if you’ve never seen it, so lets look at some pictures whilst I write-speak.
So hopefully this will give you a decent idea of what Yosakoi is all about. A group of 40-50 people in matching costumes, all performing a routine to music that has similar bits but is unique to every group. If I can find some video and a sample of the music I will definitely upload some, because you just can’t get a feel for it without the sound. This was at about 12:30 pm. It didn’t matter what you were wearing, because it was already about 96 degrees.
This guy really made my day. It was the first performance I saw, and he was smiling like a little kid. So was I, actually, like a kid on Christmas morning. It was such a festive atmosphere; I really loved seeing entire families out enjoying the day. Women were in yukata, men were in Jinbei(myself included), and the vendors were out selling delicious food and drink.
A teen girls group representing one of the local grocery store chains, Sunny Axix/Mart
Ok, location change. After baking out on the open street for about half an hour, Gabe and I met up with some friends to see our other friend dance(forgot here name!). Unfortunately, you can’t see her in any of the shots that I took but she did a great job. This was one of the better groups of the day. They really set the tone from the beginning.
Look familiar? This is where we started, although now it’s about 4:30. Somehow I’ve still got energy. I gave it up to this group b/c their routine had a lot of running and jumping in it. That’s one routine every 7-10 minutes, for 8 hours, for two days. Yes. Yes, indeed.
I like this one.
At the final venue now. Chuo Koen, or Central Park. This is the big dance of the day for the teams. If you can’t muster up the juice here, it makes for a bit of a lackluster finish.
Everything looked a bit magical once the lights came on.
Me sitting with my friends Tisina and Courtney. Extra points for the Yukata Courtney, even though she changed out of it after we all left ;-(
That’s the jist of the day then. I won’t write too much more, the rest of these shots I’m just throwing up for your(hopefull) enjoyment. Adios!
There should be a law against certain levels of cuteness.
So, this is a video from last year’s Yosakoi festival, but I think it does a good job of capturing the intensity of the music and the dancers. Feel free to fastforward a bit to where the camera angle gets good.