Hey all! Last week was silver week here in Japan so during my time off I went on a Gasshuku (合宿) with my dance club! Went went out out into the mountains in Nagano, not to be confused with Nakano-ku in Tokyo! It’s a 4-5 hour drive there from Tokyo so we went by bus. Did you know that some Japanese buses have built in karaoke machines? I didn’t but I was glad I was sitting in the front because we got to sing out hearts out, probably to the discontent of all of our younger members(後輩）sitting in the back. We rented out pretty much a whole hotel in order to practice and have a lot of fun, which is pretty much what a gasshuku is ! We had about 200~250 people at the hotel for 3 days and 2 nights. The main reason we rented out the huge place is we have a big performance, the school festival (学際) coming up at the beginning of November.
There is a large gym there so we broke up into our respective groups based on dance-style and spend most of the our time from morning to evening practicing for the school festival. I’m a third-year member within the club so it’s up to me and the students in the same year as me to create the choreography and teach it to all of the new members. On the first night we mostly had a lot of people staying up late partying in small groups in various rooms. Late at night 4 of my friends and I snuck into other people’s rooms while they slept and drew on their faces and covered them in glitter, which seems to be a pretty common activity for my group. On the second night we had a lot more group activities! After dinner we crowded into a large hall and had a 2on2 freestyle dance battle for active members in the circle, meaning that battlers don’t know what the music will be but they have to do their best to dance to it. The judges were 3 people who have already “retired” from the circle in order to do things like job hunting. Somehow how my team was able to win the dance battle and we both received matching shirts from the hotel to celebrate our victory!
Afterwards we had a big drinking party (飲み会) in which the 3rd years were made to drink a lot because this is our last performance before we have to “retire” from the circle! It was a lot of fun! Somehow I was still able to move around for the last day of the gasshuku. There was no practice on the final day so two of my friends and I decided to climb one of the mountains overlooking the hotel because the weather was great and we could still move. It was a really rough climb because of the night before but the weather was great and the view made it worth it. At the bottom right you can see part of the hotel!
I think gasshuku are really fun and I wish I’d had a chance to experience them more before this. Either way it was a great experience!