“Kodo’s Festive Summer Season” by Tomohiro Mitome
Aug. 1, 2015
Hello everyone. I hope that you are all well.
This is Tomohiro Mitome, leader of taiko performing arts ensemble Kodo.
Since the end of the rainy season, it has been such a boiling hot summer. The news in Japan is full of reports of extremely hot days, heatstroke, and severe downpours in the Kyushu area, so I am concerned about our supporters in these areas. Although the temperature sometimes goes beyond 30°C here on Sado, it is much more comfortable here in the morning and evening than in urban areas thanks to the cooling sea around us. On many days we can get by just with an electric fan. During this relentless heat wave, on certain days I go and teach at the Kodo Apprentice Centre and they do not have any air conditioning there. We always try to stay well-hydrated and have a break at times to prevent heat exhaustion. I know it was not this hot in the past, so nowadays I pay more attention than ever before to minding our physical condition.
So, now August has begun. For Kodo, that means it is summer festival time in our neighborhood on Sado Island: namely Earth Celebration and Ogi Minato Matsuri.
During Earth Celebration, there are so many different unique events that you can only experience for these three days each year. Some events are at sea, some are in the mountains, and of course the main concerts at night are in Shiroyama Park. During the daytime, there are fringe events, a variety of workshops, and the streets of rural Ogi are unusually lively!
This year marks a turning point for Earth Celebration, which has centered around the Shiroyama Concerts to date. The festival will take a new direction from next year, so please come over to Sado Island to enjoy this style with us one last time.
My dear fellow Sado Islanders, please join us in Ogi for Earth Celebration. It’s a truly unique atmosphere where time lapses in a relaxing yet exciting way.
If you cannot make it to Earth Celebration, but you would like to enjoy some festivities this summer on Sado, I can also recommend our local festival, Ogi Minato Matsuri!
On August 29, the Kodo performers and staff members take part in the festival as a group who plays “Ogi Matsuri Daiko.” We parade through the streets of Ogi Town, playing taiko door-to-door to help liven up the festival atmosphere. In the evening, there is a fireworks display that includes two enormous fireworks, bigger than you’ll see in a city display. It is well worth the trip to see the fireworks and experience the vibrations that echo through your body when the biggest ones go off.
After Ogi Minato Matsuri concludes, autumn always arrives on Sado.
In the Silver Week holiday period in September, the “Kodo Special Performances on Sado Island 2015: Autumn” will take place at Shukunegi Community Hall. This series of concerts offers a great opportunity to attend a Kodo performance on Sado, where we are based. The concerts are held at Shukunegi Community Hall, a special venue that Kodo has been connected to since the beginning of our group’s history. I believe these concerts are a way we can help revitalize our local community, alongside the locals of Shukunegi.
One of the best things about our performances at Shukunegi Community Hall is the intimate venue, which allows you to feel our performance at a much closer range than you would in one of our usual concert halls.
We look forward to welcoming you all to the Ogi area for the upcoming summer festivals and our Special Performances in autumn.