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  • Welcome to Tokushima!

  • This is the Awaodori, the main event of the summer

  • here in Japan.

  • One of the biggest dance festival in all of the world.

  • In Rio de Janeiro there’s the Carnival

  • and in Japan, there’s this!

  • The BIGGEST STREET PARTY in JAPAN!

  • The airport is named after it.

  • The Awaodori or Awa Dance greets disembarking passengers

  • right at the exit.

  • Tokushima takes a lot of pride in their traditional dance festival.

  • So when Tokyoites originally from Tokushima

  • arrive for the summer break,

  • they happily join in.

  • You can’t stand stillso dance!

  • Where is Tokushima?

  • Right down there on Shikoku’s east coast.

  • One of four prefectures on this island.

  • Before we look at Tokushima city,

  • let’s look north to Naruto

  • famous for this bridge

  • and Naruto Whirlpools

  • You can walk under the bridge and

  • observe some of the world’s deepest whirlpools.

  • The Otsuka Museum

  • houses full sized reproductions

  • of major works of art

  • and you can even touch them all.

  • It’s made from ceramics.

  • A full sized Sistine Chapel!

  • The Awa Puppet Theatre is a trip back in time.

  • Now back to Tokushima City Center

  • where the Awaodori will be taking place.

  • The city takes it dancing seriously.

  • On bridges.

  • Street signs.

  • Mail boxes.

  • It’s even on anime form on posters!

  • There! On the right!

  • Try Tokushima Ramen,

  • pork bone and soy broth

  • with a raw egg.

  • Power up for tonight’s festivities.

  • Good ramen! Thumbs up.

  • Afternoon activities are a warm up

  • in front of Tokushima Station.

  • You can’t help but dance!

  • The city is getting ready.

  • The atmosphere is electric.

  • By 6pm, it’s time for

  • THE MAIN EVENT

  • This is one of the stage areas on route

  • where dancing is choreographed.

  • There are two kinds of dances.

  • The men’s dance which is a powerful crouch.

  • They draw triangles in the air with their hands.

  • Their right foot crossing over their left.

  • Toe first.

  • In the staging area

  • they can rouse up the crowd.

  • Men hold paper lanterns or CHOCHIN

  • instead of the usual fan in this group.

  • In the choreographed dances,

  • men will often show off power to rouse the crowd.

  • You can see how the men smoothly flip their wrists

  • By the way, women can also take part in the men’s dance.

  • The motions are the same.

  • Before we look at the women's dance

  • let’s look at their dress.

  • They were YUKATA and those funny straw hats

  • called AMIGASA.

  • I asked some of the ONNA ODORI or women dancers

  • why it’s shaped like a hard shell taco?

  • The answer?

  • No one knew!

  • But it’s a symbol of both the city and the festival.

  • You can buy one at the Awa Odori Kaikan Building

  • for about 1500 yen.

  • And what about those sandals?

  • Well, theyre GETA

  • colored black, white and red like this.

  • Theyre not easy to walk in but

  • important for the dance.

  • Onna Odori tip toe with them.

  • A tap and a step.

  • That can’t be easy.

  • Hats off to the ladies.

  • Back at the main event

  • you can see the ladies with big smiles

  • hands waving up in the air.

  • Tip toe with a tap

  • and the right foot crossing over the leftand so on.

  • While dancing, they chant!

  • YATTOSA! YATTOSA! YATTO! YATTO!

  • Meaning?

  • It encouraged the other dancers.

  • Some REN or (dance) groups are quite large.

  • The musicians are last

  • with the drums.

  • There are professional Awaodori REN or groups

  • but this is also a festival for the people

  • and the NIWAKA REN is where the general public

  • can join in on the parade route.

  • If youre new, theyll teach you the dance.

  • Best of all, it’s free to join.

  • No reservations required.

  • The Awaodori is traditionally a massive city wide dance party.

  • It’s believed to have started in 1586

  • when Tokushima Castle opened

  • locals drinking too much sake

  • and weaving in the streets to the beat of the music.

  • In 1671

  • we know that it existed for sure because an edict stated

  • SAMURAI were banned from the event because

  • they continuously disgraced themselves with shameful behaviour

  • during the event.

  • When the main event is over, the street partying begins!

  • Near Aibahama Park on the main street and bridge

  • are where some of the biggest crowds seem to be.

  • Participants in the parade give unplanned and random dances

  • where people on the street can dance along.

  • The streets are crowded for 500 meters with dancing and partying.

  • Things start picking up as the night goes on.

  • The energy here is infectious. It’s hard to stand still.

  • When youre at the Awaodori

  • youll probablu also hear the Awa Yoshikono chant.

  • The dancers are fools.

  • The watchers are fools.

  • Both are fools alike so

  • Why not dance?

  • I tossed the camera to a friend and went in to dance too, but

  • It’s already finished here.

  • Finished?!

  • Yes.

  • This spot had already finished.

  • The party moved on down the street.

  • And away we go!

  • to the end of this episode with the epilogue.

  • This is the Awaodori.

  • If youre in Tokushima in August

  • you can not miss this event!

  • All this energy, all this passion

  • this is Japanese summer

  • and it’s awesome.

  • Make sure you check out the 360 video companion

  • to this Awaodori video

  • on the new ONLY in JAPAN 360 channel

  • Next time

  • I stay in Shikoku to visit Japan’s oldest onsen

  • in Matsuyama which happens to also

  • allow tattooed bathers!

  • This is DOGO ONSEN

  • the inspiration for Ghibli’s “Spirited Away"

  • and one of my favourite places in Japan.

  • Don’t forget your yukata and towel.

Welcome to Tokushima!

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Japan's Biggest Dance Party: Awaodori Experience ★ ONLY in JAPAN

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/03/19
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