I was going past Tokyo’s Yoyogi-Hachiman station (Odakyu line) on Sunday when not only distant drums, but the bleating of sheep, too, caught my ear! I parked my bike and went down to investigate.
The first thing I saw was a little girl on a pony (photo below), then kids petting sheep and goats in a cage a little further down, then a circle of kids next down all holding baby chickens.
As you can imagine, the street was closed to traffic, and, besides the animals, was full of stalls, streetside vendors, performers, and people lounging around eating, drinking, strolling, and having a communal time.
There were also performances happening by three main groups: two drumming troupes and a singing group from Okinawa. The singers were dressed in purple Okinawan garb, one of the drummer groups (which I didn’t get to hear) were in striking black, white, gold, and red (see photo above), and the drummers I did get to hear were distinctive in that most of them were children – the first such drumming troupe I’d ever seen in Japan.
The main feature, besides their youth, was the fancy footwork that went into the act as they all played “musical chair” style, quickly circulating from one drum to another – amazingly, without a single hitch in the perfect beat.
Enjoy a short video of Japanese children drumming at this street festival in Yoyogi-Hachiman, Tokyo. Close up footage of the children drumming can be seen especially in the latter part of this three and a half minute video.
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Japan Tokyo festival kids drumming
Monday, July 07, 2008