So many festivals! / JICA X Venus - Music Saves The World / by Daniel Whiston

So after returning to the UK for a few weeks where most of my time was spent struck down with flu I'm back in Japan and just in time for golden week (Japanese annual holiday at the end of April containing several national holidays) celebrated with a large flower festival being held in Hiroshima city. With this being my first real experience of living in Japan on a daily basis I finally have the chance to try and see and document the many different festivals that run throughout the year.

So far I've been lucky enough to catch a few different festivals over the weeks that we first arrived in Hiroshima such as a fully armoured and equipped Samurai parade through the traditional castle city of Matsue and a port festival involving 2500 dancers and musicians in Kure making their way between 100's of small colourful stalls of food, carnival games (including goldfish and terrapin fishing) and local charities promoting their causes. 

  Samurai Parade Musha Gyoretsu - Matsue

Samurai Parade Musha Gyoretsu - Matsue

In the coming months there are several more events that I hope to document along the way including more traditional and ceremonial temple/shrine festivals that I'm looking forward to. I've always seen images and videos online of these events and having the chance to see them in person is something I'd always hoped but never expected to be able to do so keep an eye on my facebook/instagram if this interests you too as they are kept far more up to date than this!

 Port festival - Kure

Port festival - Kure

The second thing I wanted to write about was a music video filming that I was able to help out with behind the scenes during the weekend before I went back to the UK. the video itself is a collaboration between JICA (Japanese International Cooperation Agency) and Venus (Hiroshima Idol group) as well as several local dance troupes and a specially assembled team of musicians involved in the songs creation.

JICA is an organization that aims to contribute to the promotion of international cooperation in development of the Japanese and global economy, support the recovery/economic stability of developing countries such as areas in Africa and offer help through overseas Japanese volunteers with a range of fields such as agriculture, education and health.
 

 Venus performing during the video shoot

Venus performing during the video shoot

After having that initial feeling of disconnection when I first arrived in Japan, going from what I was used to working with artists, musicians and organisations to being in a whole new environment with a language I couldn't speak. It was a lot of fun meeting so many new people and great to be involved in the project and given the freedom to run around and do my thing.

The behind the scenes pics can be found here - https://goo.gl/HvQ9wQ
And you can find more info on JICA and what they do here - http://www.jica.go.jp/english

The video should be released towards the end of May and there's a possible cameo from someone in there too haha.