International students and workers in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward slipped into yukata summer kimono and enjoyed traditional folk dancing Friday during the district’s second annual summer festival.
Held at a Shibuya hotel, the dance event aims to promote international exchanges as well as Japanese culture and services, including its famous omotenashi, or hospitality.
As part of the exchange, about 30 international students from Tokyo City University donned yukata and danced the Bon Odori to experience Japan’s traditional culture.
“I’ve seen it on TV, and now that I’m wearing it. It feels very refreshing and cool,” Zhu Minghanz, a 23-year-old Chinese student, said after putting on a yukata for the first time.
It was also the first time for Ke Lv, a 25-year-old Chinese student, to wear a yukata and perform the traditional dance.
“It’s very fun . . . I’m now interested in the traditional music. It soothes my mind,” she said.
In the evening, the students joined Shibuya workers in dancing to a variety of music, from traditional Tokyo Ondo folk songs to the latest J-pop.
The festival, organized by business owners in the area including Tokyu Corp., GMO Internet Inc., 109, Hikarie and Parco, started July 18 and runs until Sunday.
An organizer said they wanted to hold an outdoor event but had to give up on that idea due to health concerns.
They hope to continue the annual event, working up to staging a Bon dance festival at the famous Shibuya crossing in 2020, the summer of the Tokyo Olympics.
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