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Before the Odori

Awa Odori is an O-Bon dance, and forms the central part of an annual Buddhist event celebrating and commemorating one's ancestors. It is believed that each year during O-Bon, the ancestors' spirits return to this world in order to visit their living relatives. Those re-visiting Tokushima find one of Japan`s biggest and most impressive festivals in full swing. To the noisy accompaniment of shamisen, kane, drums and flutes, over one million people transform the usually sedate Tokushima into a whirl of chaos and abandon. It has to be seen to be believed. This shot captures something like the calm before the storm.


Check out my Awa Odori group for a taste of the festival itself.

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Taken on August 14, 2005