NEW BOOK! "SAKURA, SAKURA - My time in Japan"
Carolina Veranen-Phillips, Author
It is with great pleasure that I announce today the publication of my NEW book “Sakura, Sakura” - My Time in Japan, published by Bod just a few days ago (ISBN: 9783752658385).
For those who don't know me yet, I have spent two years in Japan with my family; more precisely in Aomori prefecture, in the northern tip of Honshu, the main island. I have recently returned to Munich, Germany.
This book contains 266 pages and is about my personal experience in Japan, about:
The places I have visited
The people I have met
The traditions I have learnt
The culture I have experienced...
Because pictures speak louder that words, I have inserted 80 photos to add to the reading.
It also contains maps, a glossary of Japanese words and a brief history of Japan (courtesy of Rediscover Japan Co Ltd).
In order to make the book more alive, I have also inserted a short passage for you to read. It's page 25 in the book.
To set up the scene: I am in Misawa, a city in Aomori prefecture, home to a Japanese and American air base. Today Misawa hosts the Mikoshi Festival Parade- A mikoshi is a portable shrine.
It goes like this:
"...A few groups pass in front of us, carrying their mikoshi, sometimes throwing them in the air, while happily shouting repetitive chants. Then a group of ladies, each wearing a pale yellow and bright green traditional outfit, appear. They look beautiful with their hair carefully done and their slightly exaggerated makeup. The leader of the group takes the microphone and introduces the group to the spectators. Then together, all in unison, the dancers bow politely and shout greetings to the crowd, while broadly smiling. They radiate something. Is it joy? No, it is more than that. It is a mixture of togetherness, complicity and connection within the group. I can feel it. It is powerful.
These greetings have an impact on me, they touch me to the core. I don’t know why, but I get goose bumps. As the music starts, so too, the magic. The dancers begin to move as a group, slowly at first, as if mimicking a flower blossoming, then regularly widening their moves, until they reach the pinnacle of the choreography. Now they are so energetic with their dance that the crowd is fixated on them, clapping their naruko in rhythm and shouting words to emphasise parts of the song. People, young and old, are attracted like magnets, clapping and cheering them on, while the dancers carry on with their moves, constantly smiling and maintaining eye contact with the crowd. I am
mesmerised. I can’t stop taking videos and photos. What is it about this dance that fascinates me? Maybe the sense of harmony and togetherness within the group. The energy that each of them emits? The best way I could describe this dance is by comparing it to what I know, Zumba. It is a Japanese version of Zumba. They look like they are enjoying themselves so much. I say to myself, “I want to learn this!”
Behind the group of dancers walks a man, holding a huge flag. It’s perhaps 3.5 metres high and 4 metres wide and adorned with the colours of Misawa. Using regular and rehearsed moves, he waves the huge flag to the rhythm of the music. Impressive! It is an effort, but it looks so easy for him. He alone, attracts as much attention as the whole group of dancers before him. The combination of both, the dancers and the flag, is stunning, spectacular. The highlight of the parade.
I will only find out later, from some friends of mine, that this dance is called yosakoi. It is a traditional dance of the fishermen, and first started in 1954 in Kochi in the southwest of Japan, as a modern version of a traditional summer dance, awa odori. This new version spread throughout the country, and now yosakoi festivals are regularly held. There is even one held close to Rokkasho, in Towada, every October.
If you wish to have more information about the book or if you are interested in reading my blogs, please visit my site www.carolinaveranen.com
If you interested in ordering the book, there are many ways you can go about it:
Either online at Amazon, Bod.de or any other bookshop, or you can order it directly from me (email@example.com).
The good thing about ordering it from me is that you can receive a signed copy.
The first ten of you contacting me will receive a FREE copy of my book “A STOP ON THE WAY” (in the language you wish French, English or German).
Thank you for watching and I hope to see you soon.
"SAKURA, SAKURA - My Time in Japan