A Kanagawa Shimbun (newspaper) reporter came to a Bon Odori dance practice a few weeks ago and was kind enough to ask me a few questions about Japanese dance. I figured this was the time to pull out all the stops and go overboard on the cheese, so when he asked what drew me to Awa Odori I said, “Last summer when I saw the Chidori-ren float and dance, it was the happiest moment of my summer. When they told us we would be allowed to dance with them, that was the happiest moment of this summer.” Sadly, that excellent quote did not make it to the final article, which came out in the Kanagawa Shimbun and appears below with a translation. I took the liberty of bolding the Japanese paragraph about me. 😀
Go for the Bon-Odori Dancers, the ladies on Atsugi Base dedicated to Bon-Odori practice
Bon-Odori Festivals, one of the summer traditions, have been held all over Japan. U.S. Naval Air Facility Atsugi Kichi (Ayase, Yamato) has been preparing for “American Festival & Bon-Odori Festival 2010” which will be held on August 14th. The members of the spouses’ associations have been practicing very hard to perform as “Bon-Odori dancers”.
Atsugi Base holds Bon-Odori event every year to promote good relationship with local community. The members of the spouses’ associations also wear yukata and dance together with local residents and set the mood for the festival.
The ladies invite instructors from Yamato Minyo-kyokai Association and practice once a week with “Dai-yamato Ondo”, “Tokyo Ondo” and other dances. They dance with light steps and graceful movements of arms. The ladies dance very well and the instructors believe they will perform excellently. Chief instructor, Ms Hisae Hamada (66), says “They have been practicing very hard and some of them dance even better than Japanese people.”
Ms Mari Krueger (26) who has been a Bon-Odori Dancer since last year said with smile “This is a great opportunity for us to get to know Japanese girls. We can also learn (Japanese) culture. I am so excited (to perform) this year too.”
The base opens from twelve noon till nine at night. In case of rain, the festival will be postponed to the 15th. For more information, please contact at 0467-78-2664 (Host Nation Relations Office, NAF Atsugi)
[Translated by Sumie Maruyama , NAF Atsugi, HNRO]