On July 2nd the 12th Ichigo Ichie took place at Seika Town Library Meeting Room. 38 adults and 25 kids from China, Malaysia, Vietnam, India, the U.S., Sweden, Australia, and Japan gathered. Some of the participants put on “happi”, a traditional costume for festivals, to get ready for the day’s main event.
Festivals in JapanWe began with the game, “What festival is it?” We walked around to see festival pictures on the wall, and guessed what festival each picture was. The festivals, from various parts of Japan, from Tohoku to Okinawa, were all famous. We were impressed to see portable shrines with gorgeous decorations or streets full of people in traditional festival costumes.
Next, Kazue and Naoko showed us information on summer festivals in the Kansai area. We got leaflets (in Japanese or English), and saw pictures of festivals on the screen. The information was about famous summer festivals held in Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, Wakayama, and also in our area, Seika Town and Kizugawa City.
Yosakoi Naruko DanceThen, the day’s main event, Yosakoi Naruko Dance! First, Tomoko made a presentation on this dance. The Yosakoi Naruko Dance is performed in Yosakoi festival in the city of Kochi. It has taken place every August since 1954. During the festival season, people dance every night for about a month. After the presentation, she taught us the dance moves. When you do this dance, you use “Naruko”, a wooden clapper making sounds like a castanet. It was not easy to learn all the moves, but we practiced several times and finally danced in a circle with music! Everyone had fun, and even small kids enjoyed just clapping the Narukos.
Story time （English）Last, it was story time. Ms. Lee Chan, a lady from Australia, read us a picture book, “It’s Lovely When You Smile” in English. Kids sat around her and enjoyed the story.
It was the last meeting with Ms. Mino, one of Ichigo Ichie's staff from the beginning of the group. She will be greatly missed!
Upcoming MeetingOur next Ichigo Ichie is to be held at Café Kokoraku on September 3, Sunday. The theme is “Children’s Education”. As kids grow up, parents may wonder what school kids should go to, or what kinds of lessons they should take… So, let’s share ideas about children’s schools or activities outside of school. See you at the next Ichio Ichie!
(Reported by Naoko. Proofread by James. Photos taken by Shinichiro.)