Sunday, October 22, 2017

Asian Kagoshima 2017

The city of Kagoshima had been advertising Asian Kagoshima 2017 for at least a month leading up to this weekend. I've seen the previous years' events, and I was mostly looking forward to this one. School students from southeast Asian countries, including South Korea, China, Malaysia, and Indonesia are invited to Kagoshima to perform songs and dances over the weekend. Generally, Saturday is the indoor day, with the main performances in the auditorium in Houzan Hall, next door to Central Park. Then on Sunday there's food from the ethnic restaurants in the city, served in the park, plus a few more performances on the outdoor stage. The problem was that Japan was in the path of another typhoon, which would hit Kyushu on Sunday, and I didn't know if things would be cancelled or not. We've already had two other events cancelled during this summer, only to have the typhoons completely miss Kagoshima.

Saturdays are usually my busiest day of the week at the English school, but on the 21st I had a long break from 4 PM to 8 PM. So, during the break I went over to Houzan Hall, which is only a couple short blocks from the school, and the outside of the hall was devoid of people. There were some greeters in the lobby, but no audience members lounging around. Since the place looked almost abandoned, I took a few photos of the hall and the park in the rain, and went to a coffee shop for the rest of the break. My expectation was that even if it wasn't cancelled, there really wasn't anyone watching the performances because of the bad weather. After the break, I returned to the school for one class, then went back home.

I got out of the apartment at 1:30 PM on Sunday, and sure enough workers were already halfway done tearing down the food booths.

"Today's Asian Kagoshima Fest in Central Park is cancelled because of the typhoon."
This is especially a shame because I know one of the guys that works at the Sri Lanka curry restaurant nearby in Tenmonkan, and they were really excited about having a booth here this week to make up for weak sales because of the sagging economy. I'm hoping that things pick up for them soon.

I decided I was going to go up to Amu Plaza from here, and to do so I'd cut through Tenmonkan. As I got up to the 7-11, I discovered that the outdoor performances had been moved to the intersection here, and I was just in time to see the school girl from Malaysia doing a balancing act while bouncing a ball from her right foot (video below).

A lot of the performance was actually spent carefully arranging the bricks, chairs and bottles to ensure that they'd be stable enough. The girl's performance time was only about 7-8 minutes, total, but she's still pretty talented.

She was followed by students from an Indonesian dance school. These students were also good, and I enjoyed the dance. Not sure what the story behind the dance was, though...

This dance lasted 7 minutes, and was the last performance of the day. Everyone started packing up and heading out, so I continued on my way up to Amu Plaza. I'd been told there was some other event slated for this Sunday next to the river near the train station, but when I got there, all the food booth tents had been dismantled. A security guard in the area mentioned that the event, whatever it was, had also been postponed, but might be rescheduled for next week. At Amu Plaza, the big plaza in front of the train station was empty, and it looked like the department store had pulled everything out and removed the AstroTurf to keep it from being damaged by the typhoon. However, at 3 PM, the rain had stopped and the skies were turning blue, so the city's panic was again misplaced.

Also scheduled for this weekend was the 12-mile Myouenji Walk, which usually starts from Terukuni shrine, next door to Central Park, and continues out to Ijuin. I'd considered doing the walk again this year (having done it 3 times before), but the route is pretty boring. With the rain and all, I figured I'd be better off staying home. One of my students had talked about doing the walk this year, though, and I'll have to ask her if it had also been cancelled or not the next time I see her.

Over all, a quiet, albeit somewhat interesting weekend.

Direct youtube link

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