Many people think that Eastern children rank higher in the worldwide cuteness scale. Well, that might be true, judging by the the sweetness and innocence displayed by the little boys and girls who took part in the Awaodori festival in mid-August. Sometimes you have to be an insider to get wind of this kind of festivals, and what better insider that two Japanese girls who collaborate on the Tokyo Free Guide website? Yes, that's right. The simplest Google search could sometimes lead you to wonderful human beings, such as Chica and Misako, who have the courtesy and kindness to show me what's on in Tokyo and get to places where tourists are scarce and one has the feeling of being totally immersed in the fascinating Japanese culture.
The most famous Awaodori is the one in Tokushima, but the one we went to was located in Shimo-Kitazawa, an area in Tokyo South of Nakano, where I live. Around 10 teams walk and dance along the streets, each one with their personal style, although there are common dances, like the dance of fools. They also play several instruments, such as drums, flutes or shamisens. I particulary liked the red team because they really had his heart on it, increasing the rythm, dancing like crazy and even waving at the bystanders (including me :-D). I must admit I have fallen in love with Japanese festivals, I had already had the time of my life when I visited the Yasukuni Shrine for the Mitama Festival, when I got a first glimpse at the Obon dance, tons of different food specialties and the last Tanabata streamers.
The music I could listen to in the Awaodori festival is somehow so powerful that I couldn't stop tapping my feet and moving around to follow the rhythm.
Children formed the bulk of some of the teams, and it was definitely the pinnacle of cuteness. You could easily spot the children by the drool coming out of the bystanders' mouths, or the gleaming pride of their escorting parents.