11 juni

Day 1
Today Rachel, Junmin (the Chinese exchange student) and I went to the YOSAKOI festival. YOSAKOI is four days and, as they told me, it is celebrated real big in Hokkaido. More info Wikipedia Yosakoi

What it actually means is that almost every university has a Yosakoi team. It is a club activity, like I do tennis in my school Yamanote. It is a kind of traditional Japanese dance in a modern look. The club practice all year for the festival. Some schools have many members, others less. Each school has its own dance and costumes etc. There is really a lot, very, VERY cool to watch. Now I am sure I want to go to university in Sapporo!

We appointed in Odori Koen (Park) that is near Sapporo eki. We, the exchange students, only had school until the fourth hour that ends at 10:50. This was because to entire school had English tests.
Rachel and I arrived early and decided to have our obentou (lunch box) in the park while sitting on the grass. It was a relaxed atmosphere! Until… a man came to us and asked if we speak English. We said yes and he told us he was from San Francisco and wanted to talk with us. Of course, no problem. Until he asked if I were a Christian yes or no. I never, really never expected to meet a JEHOVA WITNESS in Japan. I was deeply shocked. He started telling that he came to Japan several times to tell people about God. Seriously, perhaps I should become a Jehovah witness, then I can go to Japan for free!

Because Rachel told him she is Christian, he preached to me and told me I should pray and such. I just nodded. Perhaps I was shocked meeting a Jehovah witness. Finally, after half an hour he went away to bother other people.

When Junmin finally arrived we first walked around. There were food stands everywhere. And everything looked so delicious! We also saw terraces, something you normally don’t see in Japan. So the atmosphere was really wonderful. There were also many souvenir stands and I bought a nice telephone keychain, an iPhone case and a name plate with my name in Kanji!

I also met three Swedish guys of whom Rachel was totally convinced they were French and I was 200% sure they weren’t. But I could not tell where they were from so, with my big mouth, I just asked them. They study one year in Japan! Just like me but they are on the university.
Furthermore large groups of dancers came by and cheered every on! Some teams wear really cool clothing and it is so cool! Even many boys join the teams! You will never see that in Holland. But the boys in these clubs are very ‘kakkoii’ (brave)

About 16:30 we wanted to go for Purikura when we suddenly saw all these people along the road, and later we discovered TV cameras. A dance parade appeared to start at 5 O’clock. We were in front when it started and it became so crowded. We were really lucky we walked in that direction. Junmin could watch TV on his mobile and there we saw what was recorded just across the street! There were many cameras and I am sure we were on TV, foreigners in a school uniform!

We had even more luck that we were on the head of the parade and therefore we saw every dance! It was SO COOL, I can’t express in words how cool it was. The first dance, from Hokusei University, was so beautiful it almost made me cry! Other schools were very cool too! They were all very good and their makeup and dresses were so beautiful, it was great! (When you like traditional Japanese you know what I mean)

They all danced perfectly synchronous and everything was so harmoniously! If I ever get the chance to join I know what I will do!

I think the last dance was not really official because older people joined too. On the end they took people from the audience, but nobody wanted or dared. Then I thought why not? I am going to join! T was very funny!! I could even dance with them so it was not even embarrassing. I must have draw attention in my school uniform, but I don’t mind! Everyone was excited that I did it.

Afterwards we took more Purikura. It was a beautiful day!

Day 2
This morning I went to tennis. When I arrived they took away the net again! I was shocked because I thought there was no training. Finally we trained inside school until 11 O’clock. Well I actually only watched. I was somewhat irritated that that we could play again.

I planned to meet Rachel at 14:30 at Sapporo eki but since I was ready that early I had some time to spend. I went to my favorite place: Mister Donut!
Waiting for Rachel suddenly Emma, another AFS student, appeared. She was also waiting for a friend to go to the festival. Luckily Rachel arrived early and we walked around in Sapporo eki. About 14:30 more people arrived, I thought they were exchange students too, but they were Japanese.
Two girls and two boys that are all on the same university, one girl is a former Yamanote student. They study international business, I could easily communicate with them. Later two more girls arrived, a German and an American. They are on the same school as these Japanese.

Throughout Sapporo you find Yosakoi dance act everywhere. The teams move from one place to the other and do their performance, therefore it is not just a club.

We walked for ages to the ‘Beer Garden’ were their university would perform. Unfortunately we were too late but we saw a lot other teams, even a team from Russia!

Rachel, Junmin and another Japanese girl wanted to stay watching and I went with the others to Sapporo eki to see other Yosakoi teams. It was very nice and I met a lot of new people! Unfortunately I had to be home at 7 O’clock for dinner. Perhaps next time we have dinner down town with the group! That would be nice.

Back in Sapporo eki suddenly Museon and Eden came to me! It’s useful that everyone recognizes my hair!

Day 3
Today I went to YOKASOI again, this time with Tanaka-san and her sister! Today it was very busy but also very nice. I again enjoyed the dance acts and the wonderful atmosphere. One team from Hokkaido university suddenly dropped their cloth at the end of the act! Very funny!
In the afternoon we had a super delicious ice-cream. We wanted to order a huge one but that would take 30 minutes to prepare, so we skipped that one.

About 2 O’clock we went home but I would stay longer. I then called Erika and together we saw more dance acts. We also went window shopping when we found this super cute dress! We looked further but finally went for it. A will post a picture later.

We then went for Purikura! It’s just fun to do and it is a good memory for the nice day we had! 😀

At night I watched Yosakoi on television! I saw all act the last three days but on TV its even nicer. But being there on the street is more cozy!
And photo’s of the festival! An AFS student that came here last year July joined a team! I am so jealous!

AND OH MY! I found my dream purse! I thought it was € 40,- but when I wanted to pay only the key chain was € 40,- and the purse € 170,-. But it is really my dream purse o_o
If you don’t know what to give for my birthday? (June 18th) You can donate money! 😛 hahaha!

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