|The BAMF Kokusai Team at Manga Koshien posing with Ryoma.|
|The finished product.|
On Wednesday, a bunch of us went to Kochi City to see the Yosakoi festival. Yosakoi is a whole-country-famous dancing style that uses a simple melody and wooden noise-makers called "naruko." The original dance and festival came from Kochi, but a lot of cities all around Japan celebrate Yosakoi as well as practice and perform the dances in their own communities. Most dance groups tend to leave out the more traditional dance movements and go for modern, flashy dances in bright costumes. Thousands of teams from all around Japan come to Kochi during the four days that Yosakoi is held every year (always at the beginning of August) to perform and compete for "best dance group." The music is amazing, and a lot of groups decide to take segments of the original Yosakoi song, and modernize it with techno, house, or some other style of music. With each group comes not only dancers, original dances and music, but also a large wooden truck used to amplify the music out into the streets. It is quite the dance party.
Since it was raining this year, we all decided to sit in this really long strip of mall (which amplified the sound and made it impossible to hear yourself think). I couldn't believe how long and how many dancers had come to Kochi for this festival! I think I heard that 2000 groups came to dance and that the parade went from 11AM until 10PM. Crazy.