Too Many Hobbies! 趣味が多すぎる

In September I participated in my belly dancing school’s annual performance. Now, I bet you’re wondering how many hobbies I actually have. Let me tell you, too many! I’m seriously never home! Many Japanese people find it strange that I have so many hobbies. Starting from a young age when students only participate in one club activity at school, Japanese people tend to have only one main hobby. They are often very good at this hobby, thanks to their concentrated approach. On the other hand, I tend to spread myself too thin and never be truly good at anything. I can see the advantages of both, but I like the multi-hobby approach personally. It suits me. Plus I get to do cool things like belly dancing!

I first took up belly dancing 3 years ago after seeing a team of belly dancers performing in the Erekocha Festival Parade and thinking it looked like fun. I searched online and convinced my friend B to join me. It was fun, but the class was on a Sunday, so B and I often had schedule conflicts that prevented us from attending. Eventually we both quit because we were finding it hard to keep up with the routines because of missing so many lessons. We lasted about six months. I often wonder about how good I could have been by now if I had continued to practice.

B and I at our first Belly Dance Performance 2012

Two and a half years later, I was hanging out with a friend, Honami, when the topic of dance came up. During university, she was into flamenco dance, but since graduating and returning to Miyazaki, she hadn’t found a class that she liked enough to join yet. I told her about my brief belly dancing experience, and how much I had enjoyed it. After reminiscing for a while, we decided that we should try out my former class. We even managed to convince another friend, Haruna, to join us. So the three of us went along to a trial lesson, and before long were regulars.

Erekocha Festival, where I saw Belly Dancers for the first time

I am a truly terrible dancer. My previous history of sports, which includes netball, karate, swimming, sailing, hockey, golf and snowboarding has ensured that while I am not hopeless at sports, I am in no way graceful or flexible, two of the fundamentals of belly dance. However, that is exactly what appeals to me about belly dancing. It allows me the opportunity to grow and experience things that I have never tried before, work on my weaknesses and hopefully to find a fitter, more confident version of myself. I want to be someone who is not afraid to stand in front of a crowd with a muffin top hanging over my skirt and a stomach that looks as if it has never seen the sun. I think I am getting there slowly. It certainly helps that my friend has incredible make-up skills that practically transform me into a different person every time I stand up on the stage. It also helps that the ladies I dance with are super encouraging, and just in general, amazing people.

Is this even me? Honami has amazing make-up skills!
On the night of the performance, I was nervous but ready. Unfortunately, Haruna broke her foot the day before the big performance. After months of practice, to have to sit in the audience and watch must have been heartbreaking, but she put on a brave face. The whole performance was over in what felt like mere minutes. I guess time flies when you’re having fun, and when you’re trying to costume change between songs.

After the performance... so tired! Poor Haruna :(

A big thank you to Nao, Heyne and Chris for coming to watch my performance! Also, thank you to Honami for the wonderful make-up. Haruna, I hope you have a speedy recovery, and are back in the classroom with us soon!  



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