Jogja Japan Week, a Festival of four Seasons
*click picture for large version*
The Jogja Japan Week Festival (JJW) for this year was held in Jogja National Museum at July 5-8 2012. As per usual, the show that was supposed to start at 9 was delayed until 11 because the big names, ambassador, performer etc were in the Vredeberg Front for the press version of JJW opening ceremony.
Around 11 they finally arrived and the show started with a ‘welcome dance’ performed by a group of 8. It was such a lively and fun dance that made us clap our hand in glee and awe.
The narrator explained the story behind the dance as the spirit of hardworking and friendship between the workers of this event and how they would like to share the passion through artistic performance.
Following the dance was a series of speech from Yosinori Katori-sama, Japan’s ambassador for Indonesia, followed by our beloved Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono 10th. A few lines our governor directed gave us a small snicker especially when he greet us with “Ohayo Gozoimass..!” on 11 noon and when he told us his admiration for Japan’s martial art such as Karate, Judo and Taekwondo. Really sir..?
Later on a few artistic performances by several groups of Indonesian youngster followed the speech, starting from a colab dance between Ai Hasuda and Didik Nini Thowok, Ninja School Demonstration, a Fashion Show from Batik Roso, taiko performance and another dance from the group before.
The first dance was a colab between the two artist that was created two days prior the event, about a meeting between a pair of moon princess. Ai Hasuda with her pastel green kimono danced with such gracefulness that shows just the kind of beauty the Japanese appreciate. With her sharp visage, red puckering lips and face that betray any kind of emotion. And the moment she turn her back on us, you will stop and gaze in awe at her neck, curving like a shy crane before her flight.
After Ai Hasuda danced her piece Didik Nini Thowok joined her in this mesmerizing routine, with his charms and the staccato note from the music chamber came and dance with such stances that it take your breath away. I got the feel that if I paid less attention to his movements, he’ll take me way beyond the borders. The way he moved brought something magical in a dark way.
The dance ended with the two princess *snicker* exited the stage. And then a group of ninja ruled the stage. As far as I could tell, it’s about two clan each consisting of two people fighting with flashy moves and impressive jumps. On the middle of the story one of the members from the first clan betrayed his partner and joined the enemy clan. The coolest part was when the remaining member of the clan flashed a samurai and obliterated all of them.
After everybody is killed save the lone ninja, a fashion show from Roso Batik showcasing a few version of their Yukata and modern Batik application. The stage was once again graced by Ai Hasuda in her earth coloured dress and her fast growing fans was enormously delighted.
Then a group of percussion starts beating the audience away with their music list. The joy, energy and enthusiasm were so great I can’t help but to shoot a few minutes of their play.
Once again the last performance was from the first group that brought us the welcome dance, this time they dance with the same energy if not more than the last time.
After the whole series of art performance we were ushered to join the stands/rooms that were already prepared inside the JNM building. There were four room concepts, the winter, spring, summer and fall. Each room have their own attractions.
The winter room served as a photo session with some winter wonderland-esque property.
The fall room served as the Origami (the art of paper folding), Furoshiki (the art of wrapping a bento box) and some spot for picture session.
The spring room consisted of a stage layered with tatami and the blooming of Sakura backdrop, it served both as a photo shoot and the cha-no-yo (tea ceremony) stage.
I had the chance to watch the cha-no-yo ceremony from middle to end, and after a few chats and inquisitive question to the lady in charge of the stage, she invited me to experience the tea ceremony firsthand. It was the ‘this is it’ experience of the day. The ‘master of the house’ invited me for a ceremony and started this elegant and complex tea making ritual in Urasenke style. He offered me the actual cup, flown straight from Japan complete with its wabisabi, the good-and-bad part and he guide me on how to drink from this marvellous earth coloured cup.
After the whole ritual, we rise and though it was only a quick 10 minutes sit, my leg was already numb from sitting in Japanese style…
In the summer room you could find a stand that rent Yukata, accessories, folding-paper-what’s-it’s-name-again-? stand, traditional body product stand and clothes stands. I didn’t have the time to snap a picture of this room, boo me…
At the end of my trip, I decided to buy a happi coat with a giant matsuri character at the back. The fabric was… least to say, unique, but the memory was priceless.
All and all, it was such a great day. I can’t wait for the next day and the years to come for another JJW!