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September, 2009

Laser Radial Yacht World Championships in Karatsu

Summer was very, unusually, late in Karatsu this year.
The rainy season continued until early August, that means, almost two weeks late than usual.
But in this unstable weather, we had the Laser Radial Yacht World Championships.
The bay of Karatsu is beautiful. It could have been more beautiful if rain had stopped. But even in thunders and hard rain, we saw many white sails in the bay.
In town, we saw young foreign people, sun-tanned, long-legged, agreeable manner, smiles......

I planned two programs to welcome the sailors from the world, and enjoyed myself very much.
Please enjoy yourself too looking at the pictures of the welcome events.

We planned an event named "Japan Day".
It is a program of performances of Japanese traditional music, dance, and Johruri (puppet play).

This picture is a sample of the small gifts we prepared for the sailors. It is hand drawn one by one by 100 elder people.

      Japan Day's MC, Masako Tanakamaru, is the president of Karatsu Volunteer Guide, goodwill translators, and she did a very good job organizing language supporters in the venue, downtown, and many events.
The first part of Japan Day was the Shamisen performances by Ms Takemoto Naruko-dayu, and her 50 students.
Naruko's two granddaughters sang for us.
Ms Kakue Ikeda has no sight, but her voice is strong and straight. She sang a Japanese folk song.
The second part is Japanese classical dances.
Wisteria Maiden by Hanayagi Yusetsue was so beautiful. Nobody could have imagined that the performer is 65 years old!
Much younger dancers, Yusetsu and Yubenika, danced the Father and Son Lions. It was a difficult dance, and audience gave them big hands again and again.
Thanks to the three dancers!
At this opportunity, I learned Power Point, to do some presentation, to show a short translation for each performance. I am 65 myself, and it was a challenge to learn a new skill. I was glad that I could somehow master this in time.
Sailors among local people were quite good audience.They understood everything. They even showed tears looking at the sad story.
The third part was Johruri, puppet play, which is UNESCO's intangible world legacy.
Today's performance was "Otsuru, the Pilgrim Girl". It was a sad story of a girl and her mother who could not tell the girl she was her mother..
The chanters were Kei and Saki Ideguchi, highschool students in Karatsu.
Their voices were amazing.
The conversation between the mother and the daughter was understandable even to the foreigners because of their chanting power. Thank you, sisters.
After the performances, I called the performers back to the stage again, and audience enjoyed taking pictures with them.
The Wisteria Maiden was a star.
Some sailors tried to move the puppets. It will make a good memory of this summer.
I was interviewed as the producer.
I was asked to send some message to the sailors, so I said.
"Catch good winds, ride good waves. Beautiful sailors, seize the day!"
Tea Ceremony accompanied us. Thanks to Urasenke people.
We were asked to have another tea ceremony 6 days later at the Harbor for those who could not attend the Japan Day. So I made it like a show, explaining everything in English. We sang Happy Birthday to someone, and almost 100 sailors joined the ceremony.

I explained briefly about the history and the tea tools, tea ceremony procedure, and the theme of a ceremony.

The day's Tea Ceremony record:
Calligraphy: "Peace through a Bowl of Tea", written by a monk of Daitokuji Temple in Kyoto.
Main tea bowl: glass bowl with a sailboat design
Second tea bowl: pottery with wave design
Tea scoop: made of turtle shell
Tea caddy: lacquer wear of boat design
Water container: lacquer ware of shell design

Yumiko Shige, a sailor who won 1996 Atlanta Olympics silver medal, once said that in the bay of Karatsu, winds are rainbow-colored. She can see the winds. Karatsu is one of the most appropriate places for sailing in Japan. It has been 20 years since we had Snipe class yacht world championships in Karatsu. I wish before 20 years from now, another championship will be held here.
I cannot wait long.
Before I get too old, they must hurry if they expect my help!

Thank you very much for visiting this page.
I hope you will return next month.
Yours, Harumi Okochi
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