Belly Dancing in Japan Part II

In case you missed part I: Belly Dancing in Japan

Deer:Nara :: Nike Stores:Kyoto

Kyoto belly dance show

Troupe Scimitar posing with our belly dance sign in Kyoto.

A working vacation is hard to plan. On one hand, performing belly dance in Japan was a wonderful experience, but on the other hand, there were was so much more sight seeing we wanted to experience. Finding the right balance between playing tourist and performer was challenging at times.

During our play time, Surreyya and I visited Nara, which is famous for hosting one of the world’s largest Buddha statues and also famous for its dense deer population outside the Kasuga Shrine. According to legend, the ancient god Takemikazuchi rode into Nara on a white deer and guarded the city.  To this day, deer are regarded as sacred animals and protectors. To pay homage to the deer, we bought some deer biscuits (shika sembei) to feed them. After their aggressive attempts to find more deer biscuits in our pockets, we decided to not test their fighting ability and moved on to the city center to experience a Japanese street festival. Music, dancers, parades, street vendors, and more all gathered around a large pond in the city center. At dusk, people started lighting candles to float on small wooden boats in the pond. It looked really fun and we wanted to stay, but duty called and we had to hop a train to Kyoto for a performance with Keke and her belly dance school.

Finding Cafe Poone Poone was a bit of a challenge in the large commercial Kyoto downtown. We were told it was located across the street from the Nike store, but were dismayed when we found 3 Nike Stores on Kawaramachi Dori! After a few frantic phone calls, we found one of Keke’s students flagging us down on the sidewalk and were escorted to the Persian restaurant for our show. Keke was a wonderful hostess and her students were as excited to see American style belly dance as we were to see Japanese style belly dance.

Performing for a Japanese audience was a different experience from what we were used to. While performing the entire restaurant stopped eating and turned to watch the belly dance show with rapt attention. I felt bad that their food was getting cold, but I guess that is to be expected when seeing a dinner show in Japan. The audience watched in dead silence until the end of the routine when a polite golf clap was delivered. Confused, we were uncertain they liked our performance, but after the show, we found out that they loved it. We were just used to the way Americans show their appreciation by whooping, screaming, and clapping mid-show. The Japanese show their appreciation in a different way. We also learned that keeping your glass half full of sake will prevent you from being pressured into drinking more than planned during the show’s after-party!

[slickr-flickr tag=”belly dance Japan 2″ type=”gallery” thumbnail_size=”small” thumbnail_scale=”80″]

• Meet the Author • Nyla Crystal


Dr. Nyla Crystal holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry and performs family-friendly shows for weddings, birthday parties, and corporate events in the Silicon Valley portion of the San Francisco Bay Area. She also co-directs the international award-winning Troupe Scimitar and the Dangerous Beauties Belly Dance show. Learn more about Santa Clara belly dancer, Nyla Crystal.


18 comments… add one

  • I lived in Japan about 12 years, nothing like it anywhere else really.

    Reply
  • Even tough I never visit Japan, but I know Japan is the best country to visit.
    Guntur recently posted..Crystal Champagne FlutesMy Profile

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  • We loved Japan and like you said there is sooooo much to do there and is such a unique country. I know if I was there for work it would be hard to keep focused.
    Rosetta Stone recently posted..Is Rosetta Stone Japanese Worth it?My Profile

    Reply
  • how i look foward to visiting Japan !

    Reply
  • I love belly dance thanks for the post…!

    Reply
  • Belly dance is one of my favourite game…!

    Reply
  • Looks it’s so much famous in japan

    Reply
  • I do love to visit japan.

    Reply
  • Belly dance is very common in India now…! I do love to see women dancing with joy..!

    Reply
  • Belly Dance is very nice a enjoying dance.I love it very much..

    Reply
  • hi Nyla,
    i can dance very well, but i really dont know how to bellydance. i think you have lots of idea about bellydance. do you like to teach me?
    keep writting.
    thanks for this post.
    Joy recently posted..Track Stolen Laptop with IP Address/PreyMy Profile

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  • I do love to watch young lady enjoying belly dance…!

    Reply
  • Wow, this is something really unique

    Reply
  • Belly dancing burn lots of calories.
    Sunil recently posted..MyThemeShop Coupon Code 2017: Grab Best Discount Code!My Profile

    Reply
  • Never had a chance to experience the belly dance. I would indeed love to experience watching once in my entire life.

    Reply
  • It would be incredible to see belly dance but never got a chance to watch such dance here in India. Although I had experience of watching belly dance on my personal TV.

    Reply
  • Wow, I really love belly dance. But only I have seen on TV.
    Really you talked about this article. thanks a lot to write about it. Keep updating..

    Reply
  • Thanks for writing up this article. I learned a thing or two like deer being sacred – I never knew that!
    Jason H recently posted..Chicago Bulls Sneaker Curve 3 Dad HatMy Profile

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