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"'Gujo Odori' Festivalgoers Dance Until Break of Dawn"

Learn Japanese from the News

Broadcast on September 25, 2023 Available until September 24, 2024

Welcome to "Learn Japanese from the News." In this program we learn Japanese and more about Japan from news stories presented in simple Japanese. Today's headline is "'Gujo Odori' Festivalgoers Dance Until Break of Dawn" which was published on NEWS WEB EASY's website on August 15, 2023. Keywords include 「盆踊り(ぼんおどり) bon-odori」"Bon dance festival" and 「浴衣(ゆかた)yukata」"Yukata, a type of casual kimono made of lightweight fabric."



"'Gujo Odori' Festivalgoers Dance Until Break of Dawn"

Welcome to "Learn Japanese from the News."
Join us as we learn Japanese and about the country through Japanese news stories.
Today's headline is…

400年(ねん)続(つづ)く「郡上(ぐじょう)おどり」 たくさんの人(ひと)が朝(あさ)まで踊(おど)る
"'Gujo Odori' Festivalgoers Dance Until Break of Dawn"
This news story was published on NEWS WEB EASY's website on August 15th.
Now let's go over some vocab words that will help us understand what's going on.
Bon dance festival
Bon is an annual tradition where families honor the spirits of their ancestors. Usually we add the prefix 「お」and say 「お盆(ぼん)」. In most regions of Japan, it's observed in mid-August—from around the 13th through the 15th.
Bon-odori originally referred to ritual dances performed during the Obon period. Today they've become more like summer festivals where communities come together to dance and socialize.
Yukata are a type of casual kimono made of lightweight fabric, which make them popular attire for summer festivals.
Geta are traditional wooden clogs or sandals.
Now, let's keep these words in mind as we listen.
Gujo Odori is a Bon dance festival that's been held in the city of Gujo in Gifu Prefecture for roughly 400 years. The festivities peak during the Obon period, when participants dance through the night.

Now we'll break down a few sentences from the story that contain helpful expressions and keywords.
Let's start with the following sentence:
"During the Bon festival there is "tetsuya-odori," where they dance from night till morning. "
徹夜(てつや) means "through the night."
The や in 徹夜(てつや) means "night." てつ comes from the verb 徹(てっ)する, which means "to follow through" or "devote oneself." So for example, if you stayed up all night talking with someone, you could say 徹夜(てつや)で話(はな)しあった.
The Gujo Odori festivities take place over about 30 days, and on four of those days the dancing goes on all night, that is, 徹夜(てつや)で.
OK, let's move on to our next sentence.
" The number of people dancing gradually increased, and they were having a good time shouting and stamping their geta clogs to flute and taiko drum music. "
だんだん is an adverb that means "gradually." Here it describes how the crowd of dancers grew little by little. We can also use it to describe something like the sky at dawn by saying だんだん明(あか)るくなる, that is, "it's getting light."
When we want to say that something is changing rapidly or steadily, we use the adverb どんどん. For example, 人(ひと)がどんどん入(はい)ってきた means "More and more people came in."
And that's all for today.
The period between summer and fall is matsuri season, when festivals are held across the country. You can see a different side of Japan and feel the spirit of community that people have cultivated.
All right, be sure to tune in next time for more!

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