Today and tomorrow two of Tokyo’s most popular festivals will take place -the Samba festival in Asakusa and the Awa Odori festival here in Koenji -the second largest street dancing festival in Japan.
Koenji yesterday had a feeling of expectation about it as the locals (me included) wandered around watching the final preparations being made -lighting, bunting, portable stands, emergency services tents, crowd controllers, security services etc
The highlight of yesterday was however tn the evening at 6pm when a thousand or so dancers rehearsed their routines in the PAL arcade and some shopping areas to the north of the Koenji JR railway station. I took some great photographs which will prove to be better than any I take today or tomorrow as I was able to get some close up shots which will be impossible to do during the next two days because of the large crowd –usually more than a 500,000 throng.
My school will be open as usual today and as the festival starts at 6 o’clock when I’m starting my last lesson I have decided to move out of Koenji tonight and participate in the festival tomorrow.
I’m sure that tomorrow night, just like this evening, will be an electrifying event the same as the last four that I have attended.
The good thing for those attending the festivals is that the weather forecast is for fine hot weather not like last year when the heavens opened up to torrential rain at the moment the street dancing commenced .
May it be a successful weekend for not only the festival attendees but for the local businesses as well, restaurants, shops etc The convenient stores and supermarkets all do a roaring trade as do the numerous street drink and food stalls which are patronized through to the early hours of the morning. I also noticed that many of the recycled clothing shops stayed open beyond their normal trading hours and there appeared to be some brisk trading taking place.
Footnote: The crowd over the weekend was estimated to have exceeded 1 million.
I love Koenji
Smith’s School of English