Hi there! After four days in Koriyama (Fukushima) for Japan Juggling Festival 2015 that my husband always wanted to go, we are in Tokyo now until this Friday. Anyway, since I have very little knowledge about juggling and Japan Juggling Festival 2015, yet I want to put this experience in my blog, the post below is written by my husband, Brian. The pictures were taken by me of course ;) I wish I took more pictures, though! :( Well, I hope you will enjoy this somewhat different post :)
What a great time!
For anyone in Japan during the weekend of Columbus Day/Sports Day, I can't recommend this enough. You can buy one day or three day passes (three being the much better deal), and tickets to the Championship (1st night) or Guest Stage (2nd night) at the door. With your tickets and name card it's time to enter the huge practice floor which will fill shortly with jugglers of all types (balls, clubs, rings, yo-yo's, diabolos, hats, boxes, umbrellas, etc.). Each day offers various workshops, and includes a free performance where the brave demonstrate their ability to applause regardless of whether they made the routine or not.
If you are an experienced juggler, you'll fit right in. If you are just getting started (like me), you will be just as welcome. With so many talented jugglers, it's all but impossible to not learn something new. Everyone I met was extremely helpful and patient (you'd have to be while trying to teach me a new trick, and watching me attempt to perfect my ability to drop the balls). Language barrier you ask....not an issue as it is a visual art. Thanks to the advent of YouTube tutorials, I can learn tricks at home, and spend some time at the festival practicing them. But to me, the real joy of being there is to meet the other jugglers, and interact. The jugglers are mostly from Japan, but some are from Europe, North America, and Australia as well so there's a mix from all over.
The guests this year were Cru Cru Cirque DX, Anni Kupper, and Tony Pezzo. For anyone not familiar with Tony Pezzo, his video Pearls on YouTube is amazing! This being my first juggling festival, I don't have anything to compare it to, but it amazed me seeing the guest performers out juggling with people the first day. Here was Tony Pezzo working on rings with a circle of jugglers, and Anni Kupper working on clubs with another group. Getting to meet Tony Pezzo was a priviledge because it was his video that allowed me to see how beautiful juggling can be, and got me started.
At the end of the 2nd day, we got on the bus to the auditorium to watch the guest performances. For anyone that hasn't seen Cru Cru Cirque DX, if they are ever in your area I highly recommend them. They were great! A little bit of everything, and surprisingly were my favorite part of the night. Anni Kupper's performance was a nice change of pace, and let's face it, any woman that's into juggling and bondage can't be all that bad. The finale was Tony Pezzo doing an eight box routine with each box containing a juggling prop (rings, clubs, 3-balls, 3-balls and two fish nets (don't ask me, you had to be there, but it was probably my favorite part of his show), 5-balls, devil sticks, etc). Each act was a nice change of pace from the other, and all were absolutely amazing to watch!
We had to leave Koriyama for Fox Village and Tokyo on the 3rd day, and didn't get to participate in the final day. Over the two days participating in the juggling festival, it was an amazing experience, and if you ever find yourself in Japan at the time it is going on, do yourself the favor and go. You won't regret it!
P.S. Tsubasa Watanabe's airplane diabolo performance is amazing! It was great meeting you, and we hope to see you again over Halloween. Hopefully, a new festival story for a different day.