Nihon Buyo

As I said before, I had forgotten my cameras for the Nihon Buyo event, so I apologize that the videos don’t show much of the dances; they’re what I could get.  I’ve learned that people are very unwilling to walk into their rooms and produce a SDcard, flash drive, or anything of that sort with which to transfer files to me, even after saying that they would.  I’ve decided to give up on getting anything more than this, but I hope it is substantial for your viewing pleasure.
First, though, a little history:
Nihon Buyo is a type of traditional dance that originated as a way to dedicate dances to gods.  After a while, it evolved into NOH, which is a very structured and careful type of performance, but similar to kabuki.  Nihon Buyo are dances that tell stories, and are usually quite slow and careful, but artistic.
When we first went into the room, we received an introduction to Nihon Buyo and then they performed 5 dances for us.  The first one is a dance about Okinawa.  It is more upbeat than most Nihon Buyo, because it is meant to be performed in more public atmospheres.  It was a lot of fun to watch, actually.  Later in the dance (which the video didn’t capture) they use wooden clickers to the beat of the music while dancing.  It was really cool.

This next one is called Asatuma-Fune, and is inspired by a picture.

This one is called Etigo-Shishi, after a street performer who was dedicated to dancing for people.  He travels often, and contemplates his hometown after a piece of white cloth in a river reminds him of it.  Before the video starts, (s)he was dressed as a dragon.  I’m not really sure what the dragon has to do with anything, but it was pretty cool.

Next is Fuzoku-Dance, which is inspired by Otsu e.  Otsu e are simple, cheap pictures depicting just one thing, that Japanese people buy as souvenirs from a certain area.  They are meant to encompass the simple but highly artistic quality of the style and subject of the paintings.

The last one is Shoujyo, which is a fictional character who lives at the bottom of a lake.  The story originated in China, but was adapted to Japanese NOH long ago.  The story is that a young merchant who sold sake for a living served Shoujyo some sake one night.  He decided to serve Shoujyo and himself sake to enjoy together.  Shoujyo was so touched by this that he made the bottle of sake last forever, so that the merchant would never run out.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a video of this one, even though I think it was really cool.  But the best part was the costume, so I did manage to get a couple of pictures.

Some of the stories don’t make a whole lot of sense, or are vague, and I apologize, but the descriptions they gave us were in broken English, and they didn’t want to take up too much time explaining it all.

Finally, we all got dressed in yukata, which are summer kimonos.  They look similar but are much lighter and less elaborate.  You can dress yourself in a yukata on your own, but a kimono takes two to three assistants to dress you in.  After we were dressed, we learned a dance, ourselves: Sakura, which means cherry blossom; a very famous flower in Japan.

Kim and me.

I wish I could have taken you on a more visually appealing journey with me through this event, but now I know to never forget my cameras again.