Yamagata Trip Day Seven
The Koshares began their day with a new first for many. At three in the morning most Koshares were awakened by an earthquake. Those who did not wake for the first earthquake caught a feel for the second. One of the two earthquakes measured 5.3 on the richter scale. However, it was just a small earthquake and several members slept right through it.
8:30 am: Saying Good-bye
We had to say good-bye to our host families that we had known for the last five days. In order to move on to the next part of the trip we knew had to say that painful good-bye. However, for the Koshares we are not saying good-bye forever. The Koshares have their contact information and some are planning on their next trip to the area.
We checked into the Royal Hotel forty miles from Naono. In this hotel the closing ceremony for the 17th Annual Grassroots Summit was to be held. At the hotel we found that there was actually plenty of free time to relax and rest, but that was not an option to the Koshares who wanted to do more. For the first hour at the hotel we caught up on email and internet usage. Some Koshares used a phone to call home for free. The service for the international calls was provided by AT&T.
11:00 pm: Practice and Lunch
We did a one hour practice on the stage in the conference room. Getting in the dimensions of the stage for our performance. We also focused in on the time each dance would take from one to the next. We were only scheduled to do ten minutes of dancing at the ceremony. By the end of the practice we figured that four of the dances could be done. These dances were the buffalo, belt, hoop and comanche. After practice we were treated to a curry lunch at the hotel.
While some caught up on rest and communications, others found an enjoyable time to spend their afternoon. We discovered that the hotel rented bicycles for the day. So instead of spending the afternoon at the hotel we rode over to a nearby go-cart track. Joel, one of the Japanese translators, got out of work for a day of fun with the Koshares. Joel was an American living in Japan and working for the city government. We drove the go-carts and rode bicycles built for two, three and four. After having fun on the track we toured around the park and found a badminton net. Jeremy Manyik, Tyler Trumble, Dusty Wittman, Jimmy McKnight and Cullen Johnson challenged each other to the game and played for the next hour.
We returned to the hotel to rest a little before the closing ceremony at the Royal Hotel. The closing ceremony began at 5pm and we were able to participate in some of it before getting dressed in our Koshare outfits. At the ceremony we played fair-type-games for prizes and watched traditional Japanese dances. We also witnessed the changing of the globe from the Japanese to the Americans. This symbolizes that the next Grassroots Summit will be held in America.
After the exchange of the globe, the Koshares helped announce the location of the next summit in America. That location held secret from the rest of the audience was revealed when the Koshares held their portion of the sign high in the air. It read "Kentucky Fall 2008". After the Koshares did their part in informing the audience, it was time for them to get ready to perform. They only had forty minutes to get from the stage to their room on the sixth floor and back down to the stage in their outfit.
8:50 pm: Koshares perform at the closing
We performed four dances; The buffalo, belt, hoop and comanche dances. They were a big hit with all who saw them. After the closing ceremony, we went back to our rooms to rest up for the next leg of our journey.