Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Tokyo Nebuta in Los Angeles

This past Sunday July 17th we went to the Tokyo Nebuta show at The Avalon Theater in Hollywood California. This fun free event bought to Los Angeles was the brainchild of Tech Guru Shinichi Temmo who seeks to spread this festival around the world. We really didn't know too much about this show other than it's origin and popularity in Aomori City Japan. And from what we could see from the preview videos, this looked like this was going to be fun and it was!
Going into this, we knew little about the show's founder or many of the dancers that would be performing. However one local favorite that being LA Taiko Project was set to perform. They brought an electrifying performance that elevated traditional Taiko into a unique innovative style that spans the centuries and carefully crafted 21st Century blend of beats with masterful choreography to become it's own modern equivalent to what the Yoshida Brothers have done for Shamisen. We have seen them several times before and they never disappoint.
These colorful characters seen here are the famous Nebuta Dancers. From this point forward 
the show became interactive as the leader of this group would lead the audience into "Haneto" or what we Hakujin call "The Nebuta Step" which after a couple hours wore this author out! In Haneto, the leader would shout “Rassera Rassera!" Everyone responds with “Rasse Rasse Rasse!” All this while jumping twice in the right foot and twice in the left foot alternately. Sounds like fun right? Just you wait!
This little known free event that had initially had two dozen people (mostly Japanophiles and some Nisei) quickly became a packed house. We met dozens of people wearing summertime Yukata such as the ladies seen here with my wife. With $6.00 Asahi Beer and $1.00 Ramune the place was pumping! From this point on came a strange marriage of Traditional Nebuta Festival dance and a mixture of freestyle, ballet, and hip-hop. And at the conclusion of each act the Haneto came out and each performer along with the Nebuta dancers had everyone jumping “Rassera Rassera! - Rasse Rasse Rasse!” 
This was a lot of fun but these guys were killing me! Next time more Asahi to keep my feet going! We sure hope Tokyo Nebuta comes again to Los Angeles. They do have a Facebook page so look them up! The video you can see us in the opening shots. Keep your eyes out for this event! You'll have fun as well as sore happy feet! “Rassera Rassera! Rasse Rasse Rasse!”

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