A blogger chronicling the Koenji Awaodori Festival in Tokyo has noted the vast improvement shown by members of the Saipan Awaodori Team during their performance this weekend.
“I saw them today [Aug. 24, 2013] and I can say they have improved a lot! This year they were all taking part just like normal members of the team, same skill and the same confidence! They were great!” wrote Robert Svärd in an email to PDM Promoters, Inc. coordinator Sonia Awa.
Svärd writes and maintains Tokyobling’s Blog (http://tokyobling.wordpress.com/). He has been posting colorful updates and vibrant photos of this year’s slew of Awadori Festivals in Japan.
The eight-team Saipan Awaodori Team has been performing with its mother company, Tokyo Tensuiren Group, for more than a month now. It is made up of drummers/musicians Zacarias Sakisat and siblings Mitsunobu and Ran Suzuki as well as dancers Itheyvin They, Ronald Fitipol, Cody Litulumar, Nyla Sablan, and Elisa Lazaro.
Sablan, Litulumar, and Fitipol arrived in Japan only last Aug. 11 and last weekend’s performance at the Koenji Awaodori Festival was the first time the group’s full complement performed together.
Siwa said the Koenji Awaodori Festival is the second biggest festival in Japan, with about 188 groups of 12,000 dancers and musicians taking part in the two-day event. A total of nine routes were set up along the shopping promenades of the streets of Koenji for the performers.
The eight Saipan Awaodori Team members are accompanied in Japan by PDM Promoters CEO and director Misako Kamata and instructor/teacher Mayumi Suzuki. The latter is a member of the Tokyo Tensuiren Group.
The Saipan Awaodori Team is expected to return to Saipan on Aug. 28.
The Awaodori Festival is held from July to August in Japan and is meant to usher the souls of ancestors during the obon season.
During the festival, groups of choreographed dancers and musicians known as ren dance through the streets, typically accompanied by the shamisen lute, taiko drums, shinobue flute, and the kane bell. Performers wear traditional obon dance costumes, and chant and sing as they parade through the streets.