March 1, 2012
Tearing Up the Rule Book.
“Tearing Up the Rule Book” is an informal motto we use in our high-level marketing. Looking back over our trip to the South Pole, sponsorship of the Ferrari Formula One Team, enrolling Japanese teen pop sensation AKB48, supporting the recent transantarctic expedition of Felicity Aston, and all sorts of other local events and promotions too, I think it’s fair to say that we pretty much totally tear up the rule book every time one is pushed our way.
And here’s a fresh example. But first a bit on the events leading up to it…
Last September, during one of my regular trips to Japan, my old acquaintance Okatani San invited all our party to a totally exotic restaurant.
The idea was to get all gluttonous on the tastiest of local cuisine – to the accompaniment of traditional Japanese Awa Odori dancing and singing, and then to join in the dancing and merriment ourselves.
Awa Odori is a most peculiar yet thoroughly entertaining dance. The rules are simple – crouch right down and then energetically jump up and forward, and sing songs – like, for example, the one that goes:
“Dancers are fools, the audience are fools, everyone’s a fool, so why not dance?”!
Your arms need to be kept higher than shoulder level most of the time (which can get quite tiring), and this distinguishes Awa Odori from all other Japanese dances – in those a downward movement is employed.
What was fairly mental was that the dance reminded me of… the Barcelona Carnival – a very old (700+ years) Catalonian tradition. In the tradition of such festive occasions the streets are flooded with painted bodies with lots of attendant drumming, music, singing, dancing, and all other possible ways of having fun. At one time this was the main carnival of the world… but ok, I won’t get into the history here. For those interested – details are here.
Anyway, it was here that our next tearing up the rule book idea took shape – to give to the Barcelona Carnival a small injection of Awa Odori! Yes – to get over to Barcelona a professional Japanese Awa team for a serious bit of cultural fusion!
For several months we searched for the right dancers, negotiated with the organizers of the carnival, mulled the logistics… Then we needed to sew our logos onto the kimonos :) And what can I say? In short, we pulled it off – it worked a treat! Bueno!
More videos from the carnival.
And here’s a couple of amazing photos: