For the first two weeks of February, to celebrate the Chinese new year, they hold a really
awesome festival, based mainly in the Chinatown area, called the Nagasaki Latern Festival.
At one of the events, I did jaodori (literally "dragon dancing") with my school's team. We
performed on the main stage first, then walked around the streets performing again and again
whenever a big enough crowd gathered. Janelle came to Nagasaki to see it, so I gave her
my camera and she took over 150 pictures of it! I had a hard time trimming it down
to just these 30!
|The very top pic is the entire team, with everybody decked out in our red, black, and yellow Chinese uniforms. Directly above is my with my host mom and grandmother at the time.|
Above and to the right, there's me getting interviewed by one of the MCs at this event. So scary! I got the first question no prob ("I come from Canada"), and I think I probably got the general jist of the second question (having understood about three words of it), but the third question was completely over my head, and so that was the end of that!
|So, yeah, just some general pics of us "dancing". It's not really dancing at all, but what else am I supposed to call it? Janelle got some really good shots here of swinging the dragon around, and there's one just above there of me :)|
Above is a good shot of the big bass drum, and there's Koujirou playing the big trumpet-like thing that's supposed to be the dragon's roar (I think our dragon is a soprano). I really like the pic just on the right there, because you can really see the dragon swinging up and down, trying to catch that fiesty sun.
|Now we've moved from the main stage at Minato Park to the streets of China town! Up and to the left is Makoto, who leads the whole thing by running with the sun that the dragon is trying to catch. That picture on the left is us taking the dragon into one of the many restaurants along these streets. We walked through about a dozen of them as part of the tradition, I think, but nobody really explained to me why.|
The two pictures about really show why this whole thing is called the Latern Festival! Chinatown was completely covered in these paper lanterns, so you might as well have been under a roof. Hamanomachi, the big covered shopping arcade, is completely filled with them too, and so is Minato Park. There wouldn't have been enough room to do any jaodori here, but when two streets crossed we'd take over the intersection and perform there for the crowds. Oh, and here's Koujirou again providing that chilling call of the dragon (insert dramatic music here).
|Up one and to the left is one of my favourite pics. Can't you just hear the suspensful background music and see the heros of the movie lost in the forest, wondering where that killer dragon got to... it'll spring out from hiding any second and devour them all alive!!! Anyway... above you can see that's elusive sun that I've mentioned already. Of course the dragon is just a little slow, so he's still down towards the ground where the sun was a couple seconds ago. What I don't understand is why when the sun slows down to a walking pace, the dragon slows down too! I think it's not trying as hard as it could...|
There's me again, doing that jaodori thing I do so much. That's a really good picture of the dragon on the right. Janelle complained that he kept moving too much, so it was hard to get a good picture, but at this point he's not moving at much at all. You see, that sun's being really sneaky, and is hiding behind the dragon's own tail. Of course the dragon is such an idiot that he's like "ba? where'd it go?" and just kind of stands there for a while, looking around.
|Here's the last of the pictures. Above is Nakajima, who does the tail. Left is Hamasaki, doing what he later called "a special face", and below is Janelle with Koujirou and then Yuuya.|