Bon Odori – A simple pleasure

Bon Odori

I returned home recently from a long drive with my family, and as we got out the car we could hear a rhythmic drumming and the faint sound of a traditional Japanese song. A quick search for the source of this sound and we found the local ‘Bon Odori’ festival in a nearby park.

The colorful lanterns that surrounded the central square platform provided a pleasant ambience and friendly feel to the festival, and I quickly remembered how much I enjoy these events. As is customary, several people dressed in traditional clothing stood on top of a small tower banging two large drums in time to the traditional music. Many of the local residents had come to celebrate the festival; some were dressed in yukata and jimbei. When they formed a circle around the central platform and began to dance, my family and I joined in. People of all ages were dancing and enjoying themselves, and there was a real sense of community spirit. At the end, my children were given a small gift by the festival organizers. It was a lovely evening.

These small community festivals that are held throughout Japan help to maintain tradition and ensure that future generations understand older customs. From a foreigner’s point of view, these simple community events provide a contrast to other countries where such customs have sadly been lost over time. I look forward to next year’s ‘Bon Odori’ and may even wear my jimbei!


~~~これ知ってた?~~~

★ambience:「(周囲の)雰囲気、環境」という意味を持っています。盆踊りの櫓を囲む色とりどりのちょうちんが、お祭りの楽しい雰囲気と親しみやすい感じを与えていると表現していますね。このambienceの類義語、atmosphere、environmentなどとの意味の違いや用法の違いも合わせて覚え、使いこなせるようになると英語力がレベルアップしますね!

★customary: 「習慣的な、通例の、慣例で」などの意味を表すこのcustomary。「いつもの、ありきたり」などの意味も持っています。櫓では恒例の、はっぴを着た人が伝統的な盆踊りの曲に合わせて和太鼓を叩いていたのですね!

★community spirit: 「共同体意識」というと硬いイメージですが、地域コミュニティーの意識のことで、あらゆる世代の人たちが踊ったり、楽しそうにしていて、そこに真の地域コミュニティー精神があったと表現しています (^o^)

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