Tokyo Re-Discovery

Once You Join, You Know How

Jul 24 2015

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An absolute beginner? Don't worry! Just come and join in the Bon festival dance!

During summer, you will see festivals are held here and there.

Street stalls, portable shrines... there are so much you can enjoy at the festival.


If you find the circle of Bon Festival dance, don't be shy but join!

If you see the dancers going around the tower, that means "anyone is welcome!"


You have never tried Bon Odori dancing? Don't worry!!

The choreography is very simple: patterns repeat themselves, so you learn how to dance before you know it!


Find "real dancers" who know how to dance properly - often up on the stage around the tower or sometimes blended into the circle of dancers on the ground - and just follow them. 

You may think "Wow, everyone knows how to dance!" or "They can dance because they know the music."  

The truth is most Japanese join the circle without learning the proper choreography. Some even start dancing with their shopping bags or work tools in hand "because everyone is dancing."

Recently, you can spot foreign tourists are enjoying dancing with locals.


It doesn't matter if you can or cannot dance. Once you join, you know how - this is how the Bon dance goes!


At one of the most famous Bon dance festivals in Japan, "Awa Odori" of Tokushima Prefecture, dancers chant:  


"Odoru ahou ni (The dancers are fools)

 Miru ahou (The watchers are fools)

 Onaji ahou nara (Both are fools alike so)

 Odorana son, son (Why not dance?)"


Got the spirit? So, why not join the circle and dance!

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Acquainted with high-end spots and products in Tokyo as he welcomes foreign guests all the time. Once he starts talking about traditional festivals, manners and urban legends, no one can stop!

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