Moving sooner than later, I was soon hitching a ride to Tokushima, a city on the eastern cost of Shikoku. A 30 year old “sarariman” and his 24 year old girlfriend pulled over as soon as they saw my sign. They were on their way to Kobe (on Honshu) to a punk rock concert and were happy to give me a ride. Being true to their Japanese nature, they were very kind and thoughtful. Tokushima was only an hour away from Takamatsu and I was at the Takamatsu Station by 11am.In the afternoon, I went to visit a very famous dance performance: Awa Odori. Awa Odori dates back several centuries when common folk used to dance it on the street. The dancers’ moves reflect their feelings about and relationships with the nature and more specifically with sun, flowers and birds. When it gained popularity, it was adopted for stage performances and after World War II, its fame really took off. During the Bon Festival, on August 12-15, over 1.3 million people come to Tokushima (a city of 300,000 residents) to watch and participate in the dance.
The performance, which I went to watch in the Awa Odori Center, also invited people from the audience to participate. Overcoming my shyness I went on stage. Moving hands and feet in unison with dancers’, I couldn’t stop smiling. It was a liberating feeling. Knowing that this dance was meant to learn the wonders of nature, I moved with the beat and inner feelings.
I ended the evening having Tokushima Ramen with a Japanese girl I met earlier during the day. And since I wasn’t able to find a couchsurfing host in Tokushima, I spend the night in an internet café.