Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sports Day Bon-Odori

Batgirl and Yukatagirl, Defenders of English!

This is a picture of me and my favorite student. (Oops! Am I allowed to admit that? I'm not technically her teacher anymore now that she's a senior, so it should be OK, right?) She's wearing a yukata, which is basically a cotton summer kimono. She's dressed up for our school's Sports Day last Sunday. Every year on Sports Day, the senior girls all don their yukatas and perform a traditional Japanese bon-odori (dance) on the school's field.

This dance is probably my favorite part of Sports Day. It's so beautiful to see all the girls dressed up in the yukata. I feel privileged to witness it. I have to admire the way the Japanese hand down these traditions from generation to generation. These girls aren't just learning some dance to entertain people for short time — they're learning the kind of traditional dance performed at Japanese festivals throughout the ages. I really respect these kind of deep traditions so unique to the Japanese, traditions that tie them all so closely to their history and culture.

Of course America has its own traditions, but nothing quite like this, so formal and elegant. What could compare — the senior prom? There is no comparison. It is this sort of thing that I know I will fiercely miss after leaving Japan.

My students, elegant and adorable at the same time.

Here's a short video clip of their performance for the memory books:

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