Sunday, August 14, 2005

Drink, Drink, Drink... !!

Yes, dear readers, I survived!!
(If you’re interested in my experience of the festival this year, click here.)

Unfortunately, there’s not many food-related topics regarding this festival. Our team supplied us with bentos for lunch and supper for 2 days, but they were nothing special, and I couldn’t take pics of them anyway because I didn’t bring my digital camera with me.

What characterizes the festival every year is various kinds of drinks for the dancers!! Oh it was just like pouring liquid into a strainer. Whatever we drank came out instantly as sweat. Of course I couldn’t take pics of the drinks, either, but I can buy the same drinks at any supermarkets real easily, so I can post about them :)

As I wrote in my post about the festival linked above, we danced outdoors in parking lots, shopping streets, shopping arcades and main streets. We “paraded” as we danced, and when we reached the end of each dance venue, we could get drinks at a small booth called “kyusuijo (water booth?).” There local volunteers poured iced tea or water in plastic cups for dancers and collected empty cups. (Only a few booths offered sports drinks perhaps because those are much more expensive than plain water and tea.) Now, each dance team consisted of 30 to 150 dancers, and at one venue, about 70 or 80 dance teams performed a day… I guess. Imagine how much work volunteers had to do to save us from dehydration… I thank them from the bottom of my heart. They are literally our lifesavers!!

Also each dance team had a “drink-supply car” which met the team at the end of the performance at each venue and supplied drinks.

So these are what I remember having at the festival this year.

1) plain cold water --- the most popular drink they gave us at the water booths (Not included in this pic.)
2) Iced Japanese tea or woo long tea (Back left in a big plastic cup) --- the 2nd most popular drink at the booths.
3) Iced water with a bit of lemon slice (Back right in a big plastic cup) --- One booth offered this drink and we liked the refreshing lemon flavor.
4) Lemoria (Paper pack on the left. The drink is in the small glass right next to the pack)--- Lemon-flavored soft drink with herb extract mixed. Supplied at the drink-supply car of our team and probably donated by the former sponsor of our dance team.
5) Kurozu (Dark vinegar) drink (Paper pack on the right. The content is in the small glass.)--- Same as above. Most (esp. middle-aged) dancers incl. myself rushed to the drink-supply car for this drink. The vinegar and ume-plum juice mixed in this drink were a good source of citric acid.
6) Umeboshi (Japanese plum pickles) --- These are not drinks, but supplied at a few booths. Great source of citric acid.

Other than these drinks, some dancers brought a little amount of salt wrapped in plastic wrap and licked it when taking a break. I sneaked out and bought this because I was really running out of energy way before our supper time. This is "a special jelly drink to supply carbohydrates equivalent to a rice ball," according to the text on the package. I like this because it doesn’t cause stomachache even if I dance right after consuming it.

You might think that instead of all those preparations and considerations about dancers’ conditions, we could just have this festival when the weather is cooler, and that would save a lot of money spent on the huge amount of drinks and make things easier and safer for the dancers, staff and audience. Well, tell you the truth; we are stupid and crazy. And being stupid and crazy is exactly the heart of this dance festival.
Honestly ;)

(I'm going to post some more about this festival to my another blog. If you check on them, you may or may not see why being stupid and crazy is so important for this event.)


Anonymous said...

Ahhhhhhhh.. you had fun... i see obachan..!!

Posted by Big BoK

Anonymous said...

The pictures of the dancer are sooooo pretty. I think Asian women look much prettier in traditional asian clothing. Just exquisite--and no I am not a lesbian!

I think only a kindred soul like you would post the DRINK section. Believe it or not it's really interesting for the non-japanese to see the various drinks that people take.
This weekend I went to a Half-Marathon in the Catskill region of New York, in Roscoe, which is dobbed the trout fishing capital of USA. Such a pretty place with mountain, small stores, fresh frut stands, barns, and low wading rivers. We camped by the river. Needless to say, the spirit of the runners are much like the dancers. They prepare for weeks ahead of time, and they relish every little detail of who won, what, how fast, places, how the course of the run was, etc, etc. A wonderful spirit of crazy people getting together! Afterwards, our version of people had bagels, brownies, italian cookies, bananas, beer, water, soda, and Gatorade. Although it is the most mundane of all everyday stuff, people on the other side of the globe may find this interesting. One of these days I am going to have my own blog and it will future some of the charming little towns that the USA has to offer--thanks to your inspiration, I am beginning to imagine the scenary through a different lens.
In the meantime I amn glad you survived.

Posted by joanna

Anonymous said...

i checked out the pictures and it looks like so much fun! i like the idea of mixing the traditional with the modern as it gives an opportunity to really get creative and reinterpret some of the more traditional concepts with a new twist.  

Posted by rae

Anonymous said...

> Big Bok --- Yep I did :)

> joanna --- Thanks. Yeah, I’m glad that I survived, too ;) Reading what you wrote about the runners, I felt the same kind of spirit. Gee, Gatorade. I kinda miss that.
You know, it’s true. Starting my own blog was actually starting to see my everyday life through a different lens. It makes me re-discover and re-appreciate lots of things in my everyday life. I’m glad I started blogging. Let me know when you start yours.

> rae --- I feel the same way about mixing the traditional with the modern. And what I really love to see these days is that more and more non-Japanese people join this dance festival, and they do great! It’s no surprise that they are good at jazz-dance or hiphop-like moves, but they can do some real “Japanese” moves amazingly well, too. So looks like this festival is going to be the mixture of so many things --- the old and the new, the East and the West, etc. and I like it. 

Posted by obachan