Monday, 27 July 2015

Performance Report: Kitamachi Awa Odori

As expected, Saturday was hot! Around 35° in the afternoon with high humidity. And from the looks of things, performers and spectators alike were dropping like flies!

Thankfully, I was well prepared, and most of my team came out unscathed. Plenty of liquid throughout the afternoon and a couple of salt tablets per hour kept us in good condition.

The parade routes were still long and tiring, mind you. And it was still very very hot. As with every year though, the spectators lined the sides of the roads and very enthusiastically cheered us on, fanning us as we passed. It's hard not to put on your best performance.

The routes at Kitamachi also haven't changed since previous years. One long stretch of road is divided into two parts, with performers starting at each end and progressing towards the centre. As one is noticably shorter than the other, it additionally curves and heads up towards the station. After reaching the goal line of one, we walk round the backstreets to the start position of the next and enjoy some cold tea before restarting. We probably do more walking here than any other festival, and it really fills out the time.

Unfortunately, after our third parade, we moved on to the start position of the next parade route, only to be told there wasn't enough time for us to perform again, so we had to walk all the way back to the gym hall we'd got changed at from the furthest possible location, nearly a kilometer away. That's a long way when you're carrying heavy equipment...

All in all, a successful night. Next stop is Nakameguro Natsu Matsuri on Saturday, and Nabeyoko Natsu Matsuri on Sunday. Nakameguro has the longest parade route of our summer season, a whopping 350 meters, mostly uphill, and with frequent stops while teams in front perform routines. Last year, we were performing that route for about 30+ minutes continuously. Nabeyoko is much kinder, and a total of just three teams. Both have a great atmosphere and enthusiastic crowds!

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