So, there's this festival that's going on every year in Penang and Shah Alam. I wonder if anyone has ever heard about it? Note that this is just experience sharing and not a journal of some sort.
Ok, to start I'll just drag on about what happens there.
First let me tell you I've only experienced the festival once in 2006 in the Matsushita Stadium, Shah Alam, as one of the Malaysian student dancers in the middle circle, so I might not be able to describe the whole scene accurately. (We didn't have enough time to run around anyways....)
When I first walked into the stadium area at 4.15 pm, there was already a lot of people walking around until it was almost impossible for my dance group to make it into the indoor stadium together. There were several tents selling Japanese food, drinks and souveniers, with considerable price, on the opposite side of the pavillion. The centre stage where me and my friends were supposed to be dancing in a circle was in between the pavillion and those tents. Lanterns and lights hanging from one end of the stadium towards the centre stage, colourful yukatas, and loud chattering of the people present, oh the sight!
What was the most bewildering view? The whole lot of Japanese people!!! They seem to be everywhere, with their amazed expression and their "sugoi!"s, going around in their Yukatas and some of them trying to converse with the locals. (Luckily we knew the basics in conversation and vocabulary of Japanese, so interaction between us was quite easy) All that view in a mere 5 minutes before we had to get ready in our uniform t-shirts and get in line in a circle around the centre stage before 4.55 pm SHARP!!! (The Japanese are really punctual mind you, I got to the stage at 4.45 just to be safe)
I remembered a japanese lady asking my classmate something that she didn't quite facade, but I knew she was asking if her yukata-like blouse looked alright, I just smiled and answered "kireii desu" or "beautiful" and sure enough she she said "sugoi!" and told her friend that I
could understand Japanese... -_-"
Then they asked me the order of the line up.. sure enough, I answered "Futari de" which meant "By twos"
^o^ oh, how I loved those "sugoi"s back then~!
When the celebration started at 5 pm sharp with the opening speeches and drum rolls (in a Japanese rhythm though), the dance started and people came to create more circles, keeping the stage as a centre and things just keeps getting better and not to mention larger. Back then there were 3 sets of dance that we had to learn in less than an hour on the day before, and we had shifts, so we had about 20 minutes to walk around before we had to return to the circle and dance again.
I got the chance to walk around with my friend and bought food and drinks only (we had to immediately start dancing after that, how on earth are we suppose to hang on to souveniers?), interacted with a few Japanese people, and some of them mentioned that they flew all the way from Japan to come here. All that walking and... Surprise, surprise, no one littered indiscreminately! The ground was squeeky clean! (I bet someone would be stared daggers at if they had the NERVE to litter on the ground now would they?)
When the last round of dancing came, I was ushered up the stage on the highest level to dance around the drums (my ears were still banging after that round...). Some more speeches and announcements, the celebration ended at 9 pm SHARP!
Oh, the commotion that took place by Malaysians when the time came for everyone to leave simultaneously! Because they had announced that the stadium MUST be cleared by 10 pm SHARP! The jam, the hustle and the lining up by busses.... the same goes for us...
Ok, so, does anyone know when is the next Bon Odori in Shah Alam going to be, I heard it was in July but when?!
Oh! Anyone else wants to share their experiences in this event? Perhaps those from Penang?