Night time fun in Sapporo 2020.05.21
The Sapporo Summer Festival attracts more than a million visitors to its cavernous beer garden stretching from 5-chome to 11-chome in Odori Park operating for about a month; a Hokkai Bon Odori dance, the Tanuki Festival along the Tanukikoji shopping street, the Susukino Festival, and numerous other events held in conjunction with it. When it began in 1954, the main site was Nakajima Park and featured a boat festival, bon odoridancing, fireworks display, firefly hunting, and the Tanabata star festival. The venue moved to Odori Park in 1957, and the beer garden first appeared at 6-chome in 1959.
Reading up on the history now, I am amazed to think that by accident we stumbled across this superb event. As we were heading back by bus to Sapporo after a nice day out in Noboribetsu, it was dark and we were tired. When we arrived at our final stop though, the sound of drums in the distance peaked my interest and called out to my tribal (collocated by my housemate) blood and heritage. We quickened our pace and as we rounded the corner, a beautiful pool of dancers moved in tandem to a hauntingly melodic song and drumbeat.
It was hypnotic, both the movement and the music. I felt like I had been taken back in time to another age, the one before technology had encapsulated us in a bubble and dominated our every waking moment. In the old days, people had time to think and dream and create. Without electronics to steal their attention, I can imagine villagers gathering for a social event, inducting their young to the arts and social graces of their unique community, eager students and patient teachers trying to move as one, whispers of admiration rippling through the audience and smiles of joy and delight gleaming in the firelight.
I had seen this dance before, in Tokyo and had been eager to join but hadn’t been able to mimic the movements quickly enough to sync with the graceful, mellow revellers. Today was another chance. I gave myself some time to work up the nerve and get the sequence straight in my head. Jump in! Just go for it! Don’t hesitate! And boom! I saw a spot and leapt into the crowd. It was amazing. Although it was cold, I felt nothing but warmth in my heart and limbs as I happily circled around the music performers. See if you can spot me in the photo below!
It was about two hours later when my stomach started to rumble and I half-heartedly broke off from the evergrowing throng of participants. It was dinner and bedtime!
I'm like a chihuahua. Small but fierce and full of energy. I'm generally a positive person and try to make the best of each day.