This afternoon Mrs. Sasaki had arranged for me to attend her weekly Odori (traditional Japanese dance) lesson. Sadly she was busy with her volunteering work, and so her friend took me there instead, whereupon I enjoyed a wonderful afternoon with a group of middle-aged women and their Sensei, dancing, eating and chatting. I was allegedly ‘surprisingly good for a Gaijin’, although I am sure they were being polite as I have all the rhythm of a white middle class male from Harrogate. Still it was a real eye opening experience, and I am pretty sure that most women half of their age would struggle to do all of the vigorous routines that were expected of them. I think that they enjoyed having me there, and the Sensei even seemed to let slide the fact that at the end of my routine I thanked him for ‘that delicious meal.’
During the course of the afternoon’s session, for which I was required to wear my Yukata, it became apparent that there is to be a public performance by the group sometime over the next couple of weeks. I am not entirely sure of the details, but at one point I am pretty sure that I was ruled out because I would have returned to Tokyo by the performance date. This filled me with an enormous sense of relief, as it’s one thing taking part in a practice session wearing garment that barely covers your modesty, and quite another preforming in front of a no doubt baying crowd. It was therefore with slight alarm that upon saying my goodbyes I was issued with a practice tape and told that they were looking forward to seeing me again next week, crikey.