Earth Celebration

We woke up at 4:40. We meant to wake up at 4:30, but the first alarm did not go off. It was lucky we set two alarms. We finished packing last minute items into our bags and were on the road by 5:07. My first road trip in Japan went smoothly overall. We did, however, neglect to figure in highway tolls in our budget. If you're American, you might be thinking no big deal, but in Japan, tolls are quite a bit more. The ca. 200 km drive (120 miles?) cost about 4150 yen ($36?). So this was not such a minor mistake, yet we survived. We did not get lost, though, which was my biggest worry. We had to drive from Kanazawa to Naoetsu harbor in Niigata prefecture. From Naoetsu, we boarded a ferry to Sago Island, which was another 2.5 hours or so. The drive turned out to be about a 2.5 hour drive, so we arrived at the docks with plenty of time to pass before our 9:30 ferry.

We traveled to Sado Island to see the Earth Celebration put on by Kodo each Summer. The festival lasts three days. There are many events going on during the day, such as workshops by the drummers and guest artists, cultural presentations and what they called a "fringe event", which took place at a shrine near the concert venue. From what I understand, anyone can perform for the fringe event, as long as they register. The fringe event sometimes featured taiko, sometimes dancing, other times just a soloist and a guitar. It's kind of a nice way to pass the time, if you haven't registered for any workshops, or if you don't have a way to get around the island. There is also a harbor market/flea market right when you get off the boat. The harbor market seemed to attract a lot of Japanese hippie type of people. It was interesting to look around at what people were selling, and the people watching was interesting as well, but I didn't see much that I would have wanted to buy. By the time we decided to go to the Earth Celebration, all the workshops were full, but I think that if we are able to go back next year, I will definitely want to participate in some workshops.

Most of the workshops are put on by members of Kodo or other musical guests. An example of some of the workshops available:
Miyake style taiko drumming
Onna Uchi taiko - Women's taiko drumming styles
Making your own taiko - a small one
Okinawa style dancing
and many others.

There's much more to write, but for now, I'll close with a few pictures.

Arriving at Ogi harbor, Sado Island

View from the 3rd deck of the ship.

Our ferry in port at Sado Island, Ogi

A street in Ogi. It was near the restaurant where we finally were able to eat dinner. I know that 4:30 is a bit early to be eating dinner, but almost every restaurant in Ogi seemed to be closed. The first one that we found that was open told us they were just closing up because they had run out of rice. I guess it is an island and it's difficult to get supplies, but one would think they would be better prepared for what is probably the biggest weekend of the year for the island.

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