(Contributed by Dawn)
Really, I think it is. The specific Yosakoi Festival to which I’m referring is held in Kochi, Japan during August, the most humid, miserable month of the year there. For several days, hundreds upon hundreds of participants dance in teams through the streets of Kochi, hoping to earn medals and, ultimately, the title of Yosakoi champions. In Kochi, there is an international Yosakoi team that has a dance with choreography easy enough for foreigners new to the area to learn fairly quickly. The team’s goal is to provide people from all over the world, including Japan, to come together and celebrate a Japanese tradition as friends. Back in 2013, I participated in the festival as a member of this team. However, I was not a dancer. As much as I would like to be graceful and quick on my feet, I can’t honestly profess as much. More or less, I’m a clumsy individual, but…I can sing. And that is what I did each sweltering day of Yosakoi that summer: I sang my heart out on top of a truck that drove past crowded sidewalks. There must have been thousands of people watching. I think I was so nervous that I almost forgot the unbearable heat and insatiable thirst that continued throughout the long days. But despite the heat and the nerves, it remains one of my most cherished memories from my time in Japan. I was able to make friends with people from around the world, and I was able to participate in a part of Japanese culture. Yosakoi is an incredible festival, full of music, vibrant color, tradition, modern flare, and friendship. If you haven’t made your way down to Kochi’s Yosakoi festival, I strongly urge you to do so. It’s an experience you won’t soon forget!