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Monday, December 28, 2015

Nine Days in Japan - 15 November 2016

Naruto Whirlpool

The tour proper started with a visit to view the Naruto Whirlpools. This is reputedly, the world largest whirlpool which appears on a regular basis at certain times of the day, during high tide and low tide. The name 'Naruto' intrigued those of us familiar with the manga and anime character, Naruto. According to Shona, it's a condiment used in ramen; I though it meant sweet potato !!!

Anyway, the walk over the sea on the Onaruto Bridge was quite an experience. In fact, 2015 was the 30th Anniversary of the bridge...

The island and lighthouse can be identified by the diagramme on the glass window

Ryozan-ji, Tokushima City

After the Naruto Whirlpool, we visited Ryozan-ji, temple no 1, in the historic 88 Temples Shikoku Henro pilgrimage route.

The altar at the main temple is lighted with lanterns. 
Ryozan-ji is also dedicated to children who lost their lives too soon...

Awa Odori, Tokushima City

The afternoon was spent in Tokushima City, where we were treated to an Awa Odori performance. Tokushima is famous for Awa Odori, said to be the largest dance festival in Japan. The dance may have originated from Bon Odori, the Japanese Buddhist 'Festival of the Dead' and also Kumi-Odori, a lively harvest dance.

There are two versions of the dance, a restrained daytime dance called Nagashi:

And a more frenzied night version called, Zomeki, purportedly to summon the spirit of the dead:

The dancers look quite creepy in the dim light...

Towards the end, the audience was asked to participate, and Pip Panasbodi (who was dubbed 'Pipa'  by the MC) won one of the prizes!

The rarely photographed Rich Yamasaki participates in the dance

Pip Panasbodi wears a white garland

Pip is one of three winners of the audience members

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