Sunday 7 August 2016

Performance Report: Nakameguro Natsu Matsuri

As previously mentioned, this promised to be one of the more interesting performances behind the scenes, as we'd made the decision well in advance that we would both perform and leave our precious bundle of joy and dribble in the good hands of somebody else—a good friend and advocate for ethical Awa Odori photography volunteered to sit this one out on our behalf, and the rest as they say is history.

And "they" clearly have no idea what they're talking about...

The day started normally enough, at whatever time in the morning little'n decided to get up, which typically is around the same time the sun does. Fast forward to about 2:30 in the afternoon and we're no closer yet to even starting to get ready for the evening, so we divide into shifts. One of us looks after little'n while the other gets ready, and vice versa.

Somehow, this actually worked and we made it on time. The hall we get to change in was part of the city hall, and was very nicely air conditioned (hence this particular choice of venue). Once again, divide into shifts—I look after little'n for an hour while dearest gets ready and everybody asks me if I'm sitting the day out and why am I not getting changed, then she takes little'n for ten minutes while I get ready. Friend turns up, and as we explain how to take care of sleep, feeding and drinking tea, little'n dozes off in my arms, and her nappy overflows...

Run to toilets, get her nappy changed and into new clothes, fifteen minutes later she's asleep again and all is well with the world. Except she hasn't eaten, and nor have we, and we've only got a few minutes left. Also I have a big wet patch down the front of my costume, but nothing that will stain, I'm sure, and what are the odds that anybody will even notice?

* As I'm sure the suspense is simply killing you, let me reassure you now that the wet patch did not stain, and nobody at all noticed. Or if they did, they were polite enough not to say anything. The distinction seems to matter much less now that it would have done a year ago, funnily enough.

It's time to head out, and friend assures us that everything will be fine, so off we toddle, anything but convinced. We've only ever left her in the hands of immediate family members (plural) before, and never for more than an hour.

Still standing...
Needless to say, it didn't take long for us to forget all about that as we got into the spirit of the festival.

Hold on... As you might recall from last year, Nakameguro is the one that has the really really long uphill parade ground that always kills us! Well, we did that one twice. The lack of food soon takes its toll, but it's nothing we haven't done many many times before. We only nearly collapsed of hunger, thirst and heat exhaustion, and muscle fatigue several times. Easy stuff. Some members of other teams were not so fortunate and had to leave in an ambulance.

Finally back at HQ, we see little'n waiting in the corridor in friend's arms with charm aura turned up to 11, waving cheerfully to all the nice performers from all the other teams. Turns out she slept through most of it, and then greedily gobbled up enough food to feed a small pig. So she was in a good mood!

Actually we all were. It was a good experience for everybody, and the help was much appreciated! Little'n went straight off to sleep again when we got her home, and we followed suit, whether we intended to or not.

Next festival we'll both be performing in is in October, but for me, it's in about 12 hours time at Nabeyoko.

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