Friday, 21 December 2012

School festivals, part 4: Doushisha

This actually happened weeks ago but I was planning to put it together with whatever festival I went to next. But gakkousai season is now over, so Doushisha ended up being the last one I went to, which was fitting since it was also the best by far. Thanks to my Doujo visit I already knew the location and the dates of operation, so although I knew it would be mega-awkward I decided to venture forth on my own.

I moved amongst the crowd silently and anonymously, feeling like Altaiir, Ezio or Connor from Assassin's Creed, and looking equally conspicuous. I immediately notice the huge number of international students, relatively speaking; there's a little group of them standing together every hundred metres or so. There's so many of them they probably think I go here too. I think my own school has them beat in foreigners per capita, though. Anyway, perhaps owing to this almost everybody approaches me with the assumption that I speak at least some Japanese, which, as I think I've explained before, is a very effective sales pitch on me.

What really put Doushisha at the top of my list was that it had all kinds of stuff going on. Virtually every inch of space not being used as an avenue of transit was occupied by a stall or event.
Like whatever the hell was going on here.
The energy of festival fun filled the corners of the entire area. Everybody was excited to be there. Girls in their old school uniforms tittered about. A girl in hanbok gave me a slip of Japanese-language propaganda concerning North Korean zainichi being legally disallowed from studying their own heritage. A group of girls did a tap-dancing routine on a raised platform outdoors. And also, there were cute girls everywhere, moreso than at any other school festival, even the two joshidai I visited. I realise I just wrote four sentences that were all related to girls, but you know, you end up seeing what you're looking for.

But the best thing of all was the festival's unifying theme. There was a ton of different and varied stuff going on, but the most by far was music. Live performances all over the place! It lent not only a positive, energetic ambient soundscape that was absent at other festivals, but also lent a sense of cohesion to the entirety of the proceedings, holding them together like mortar: Live - food stalls - live - painting exhibition - live - food stalls - live - etc.

Even one inside! This one was modern-type songs played with classical instruments. A recruiter dragged me in.
Yeah, there were a lot of performers.
Side-show.
The main feature. It must be nice going to a university that has money. But in all seriousness, this show was awesome. Could have stayed there all night. A bunch of the crowd were from "FSS" (French Studying Society? Or would that be FES...) and I danced with some of them. Then they shook my hand. Unfortunately I eventually had to go, since I was due at a nomikai held by one of my teachers...and there's a story in there, but it'll have to wait until I've graduated.

I love festivals, and I now especially love school festivals. If I'm still here next year (working on it!!!!!) I'll be right back, maybe clean up all of Kyouto or even go beyond its four walls. How many do you think I can manage next year?!

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