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Calgary Wedding Photographer: Tokyo, Japan

Photos were taken by iPhone and most of them are blurry because they were snapshots taken from videos.

I took Nihon Buyo (Japanese traditional dance) lesson with sensu (Japanese paper fan) at Engakuji-temple (over 800 years-old temple) in Kamakura (around 1 hour by train from Tokyo). My sensei, Azuma Seika, is a renowned Japanese traditional dancer who moved ever so gracefully. I remember when I first saw her walking towards me at the entrance of the temple, I thought I was seeing an ethereal being flowing so effortlessly. Sublimely elegant in her yukata, she walked serenely, holding a beautiful umbrella. It was like a scene from a romantic novel. She is a third-generation dancer and is a grandmaster in Nihon Buyo. Her website can be found here.

Below is a clip of the behind-the-scene from our lesson. I had had too much to eat at lunch, I had difficulty tucking the fan in my obi (the sash for kimono)... haha... And Azuma-sensei kept reminding me to straighten my back. I thought my posture had been rather okay (having been a classical ballet dancer for over 10 years), but apparently not! I was light years away from achieving Azuma-sensei's level of elegance.

Since I got addicted to koto (Japanese harp) ever since I took the lesson in Kyoto for the first time, I was so happy to find Nakagawa Garei-sensei in Saitama (1 hour by train from Tokyo) and took yet another koto lesson! At the end of our lesson, as we enjoyed green tea and wagashi (Japanese sweets; it is customary in Japan to have cold/hot green tea with wagashi throughout the day), she asked if I would like to see a (free) traditional Japanese music concert at Rissho university in Shinagawa (in the outskirt of Tokyo; around 1 hour train ride from Saitama prefecture).

I met Nakagawa-sensei at the train station and we walked together to the university (thank goodness! I could not read the kanji on the flyer!). The concert was absolutely amazing I was in awe throughout. I could not be more grateful to be given a chance to see this; it was one of the best things on my trip! Nakagawa-sensei has performed Japanese traditional music abroad (including in Sydney and at the prestigious Konzerthaus in Vienna, Austria). When I go to Tokyo again, I'll be sure to have another lesson with her!

Below is a video of her playing Sakura's advanced version:

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