Day 9 – Ancient Capital – Modern Dance

I’m writing after Joel so read his first 🙂

First thing of interest today was on the way to the train station, we passed a group of presumably locals weeding the grounds near the foot / bike path to the station. I’m unsure if it was volunteer or paid but it seemed to be mostly older people, but a few young people and even a mother with some young kids. Reminded me of a local clean-up Australia day.

[Edit: Just wanting to stick in a note here – they’re all volunteer locals. City beautification here in Japan is pretty much invariably the job of concerned citizens, not local councils as is the case in Australia. They’ll set a day – maybe once a month, I’m not sure – when they get together and clean up all the weeds and the rubbish, and generally tidy up the nature strips. There’s some places they can’t access – near the railway lines, especially – so those areas tend to get particularly overgrown. Unfortunately in modern Japan, the hip, cool youngsters with their nine-to-five jobs often don’t have the time (or the inclination) to help out, which generally just leaves the older-types and the stay-at-home mothers doing it. It’s part of the aging population problem in Japan, and it’s something the Japanese government is working to fix. –Joel]

When we arrived at Nara, on the way to the start of the historical walk suggested in Joel’s guide book we found a pharmacy and bought some multivitamins and nail clippers. We have been feeling a bit tired (I wonder why, the amount of walking we are doing) and I was a bit worried something may be missing from our diet, so I suggested the multivitamins to see if they would help.

Walking down this street was one of the hottest things we have done. There was no air movement, asphalt ground reflecting the heat, high humidity, in the initial 2 blocks we had sweat running down our backs.

First sign of Parade

First sign of Parade

As we approached where we need to turn off the road, I noticed a large group of adults and children all dressed up in interesting garb. I went back to the visitor info centre and asked the English speaking helper if there anything on. Her reply was along the lines of “its a parade for people who like to dance”, she said the parade started at the JR station at 1pm and outside the visitor centre at 3pm, both of which were wrong.

We decided to watch it and assumed it only went for 1 hour. Luckily we chose a spot to stand in the shade, and even then we were baking. The performers were dancing in the sun and every time there was a break either parents or support staff would run up with water bottles, towels and water spraying devices.

Joel discussed most of the performances, and hopefully we will upload some more pictures to gallery soon. We had everything from what looked like local primary school students being directed by teachers, through to local dance troupes (young and old) with their own directors making suggestions before the start.

The performances were fun to watch, but we were standing just before the start so mainly got to see them assemble and see the start, but missed about half of the act when they started moving on.

We finally decided to move on, have some lunch (and sit in AC for a while). We headed through an arcade to the start of the walk. There was a Kimono shop in here that had a nice display out front.

When we started the walk we found the main performance area and had a quick look around here before heading off as the guide described. The first place we visited was a nice garden that had a pond garden and a moss garden. I originally thought the entrance here was for the one next door which had big gates which I had seen another family pass through. They turned out to be separate but adjacent gardens though. By the time we finished in this first garden it was nearly 5pm and the gates of the other garden had been closed.

This will probably be the one day I beat Joel in Photos, with 538. Mainly all parade photos. Still need to remove the blurry ones.

I’ll try to add more later, but we need to get up early tomorrow to pack as we are on the road train again.

20100829 Nara [ngg_gallery=11]

About James Rudd

Network Administrator at Sydney Boys High School
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