Posts Tagged ‘yippee!’

Q: What is Para-Para?

A: It is a style of dancing which is very popular amongst young people in Japan.



I went to my first para-para club the other day and it was interesting to see such a cult part of Japanese culture live and kicking. If I compare it to line-dancing, then it I’m sure it would give you completely the wrong idea about what it is – there are no badly dressed, cowboy hat wearing middle-aged folk here, this is where the young and the stylish come to show off their arm-waving skills in strict routines set to euro-beat/trance/techno music.

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of geeks here too. Para-para is not something you can just rock up to a club and “do”; you have to study hard and learn the moves. As a result there are a large proportion of “otaku” who study daily (probably) to perfect routines, and once they know them they go to a para-para club to show what they can do. Normally “Gyaru” (the really girly girls with tonnes of makeup, short skirts and perfectly curled hair) and “otaku” (geeks with no dress-sense, bowl haircuts and a curry based diet) never mix together under any circumstances, but this is perhaps the main exception to that rule!

My friend Mina took me. She is actually an instructor back in Texas, and its because of this style of dancing that she came to like Japan in the first place! She knows a good 300 or so routines, no mean feat if you ask me. Although the moves all look kind of similar, and there is a lot of repetition, naturally every song is different.

At the club itself, everyone dances in lines and the most experienced dance on the stage to remind everyone of the moves. Occasionally the DJ pulls out a record from the early 90’s which nobody knows and at that moment, there is usually one geek who will know it, and that is their moment to shine!

After a while the music really got to me though so I don’t think I will be trying to pick it up anytime soon, but then again its always fun to try things out so who knows! Let me know what you think of the two videos!

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Finally scraped some time off the floor to write an update. Been very busy with end of term mischief making: end of term exams equates to  lots of parties and silliness, We had a leaving party today for all the students in my level which was interesting for several reasons. Firstly because we tried to play charades in Japanese, secondly because of the “talent show” which revealed a lot of X-factor which had previously remained a secret (including a performance by the course convener Machida-sensei and an incredible Michael Jackson impersonation amongst other things), and thirdly because 2 of the MCs were guys cross dressed as geisha! (The other day we had to an important presentation worth 10% of our grade and a fellow student chose to do his using the medium of song, to the tune of The Final Countdown. Unfortunately he refused to do a repeat performance today which was a shame. It was really very good though – I heard he got bonus points for his creativity.) Anyway, the peak of silliness was achieved when an evening of eating and drinking culminated in  my rather tipsy seminar class and professor doing the hokey-kokey outside an izakaya (restaurant/drinking venue). Good times.

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Nagoya Pride

After eating far too much kaitenzushi for lunch (sushi on a conveyor belt like Yo! Sushi but at a fraction of the price – 100 yen a plate!) I sat down in the community room of the dorm to relax for a bit. However, my attention was quickly drawn to a particular YouTube video by some of the boys. This video  is a song about the “future capital of Japan, Nagoya” and highlights all the great things which Nagoya is famous for. The bits I can understand are very funny, but the rest of it is a bit hard to understand since it is in Nagoyan dialect; the translation into standard Japanese can be found on-line!

So in a fit of pride for Nagoya I thought I’d post it. Even if you can’t understand Japanese, have a look because it is inimitably Japanese and as silly as you might expect.

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Today I feel a bit like this. Except without the crazy makeup and fake tan. Or the neon attire.

(If you are wondering why this young lady is dressed in such an atypically Japanese way then google ‘ganguro’ – its a kind of alternative trend that is seen in certain parts of Tokyo.)

Nearly there… this time tomorow Ill be on a plane, and this time monday I’ll be in Nihon. Yipppeee! 🙂

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