The 19th annual Jozenji Street Jazz Festival was held in Sendai last weekend, and Mirabel and I were out and about trying to find some good swing music to dance to.
Most of our Saturday was spent wandering around eating foods on sticks (a recurring theme at these festivals) and finding not much apart from afro be-wigged funk bands and Abba tribute acts. Apparently it's a loose definiton of "jazz" -- although to be fair, there were dozens of stages around the central city and we had no idea what we were supposed to be looking for, so we probably missed some really great swing bands.
Luckily, however, later that night we ran into the go-to person for swing dancing in Sendai, Nammy, a lovely lady who we were introduced to recently after mentioning our interest in dancing to a JET veteran. Anyway, a bit of a dance to Nammy's band and a glass of wine later and we were scheduled to dance in front of the main stage for the finale of the festival!
So on Sunday we turned up mid-afternoon to do a practice run and get our back stage passes. The band we were to dance to was an excellent Elvis tribute band called Erudorado (a Japanification of El Dorado). Okay, it's not quite proper swing, but it's got a good beat for it and we did just fine when it came time for the main event.
And it's on video! We're the first couple to walk on as the band starts up. The first song is Jailhouse Rock, and then there's Can't Help Falling in Love, which is way too slow to dance to, so we just sway a lot. There's a part two to this video with the other two songs they played (I Wanna Play House With You and Blue Suede Shoes), but you can't really see much of us in that one.
Here we are coming off stage after. Total rock star moment:
This one is back stage after the show. Nammy is bottom left, Erudorado's lead singer is in the grey suit, the two chaps on the left are also in the band, and the mob of well-dressed folks to the right are our fellow dancers.
It was pretty amazing to be involved with this when we're still feeling like total newbies in the city. We feel very lucky to have stumbled upon such a rad group of people at the right time and right place!