Asia: Bon Odori Jovi, Asian Games Hiccups, Kamaishi Recovery Stadium Opens

Asian Games Opening Ceremony
AP Photo / Achmad Ibrahim
– Asian Games Opening Ceremony
Fireworks explode over the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium during the opening ceremony for the 18th Asian Games at in Jakarta, Indonesia, Aug. 18.

Asian Games Hiccups
Logistical problems somewhat marred the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia, which started Aug. 18, according to Channel News Asia, with reports of transportation snags between venues leaving fans stranded while waiting for rides to other places. 
Also, buying tickets onsite has proven to be troublesome as the system requires people who bought their tickets online to line up at special booths to pick the tickets up. It seems buyers need to exchange vouchers for the tickets, but many ticket holders don’t have printers to produce the vouchers. As one frustrated fan told Channel News Asia, “We had to print the e-ticket to exchange for the ticket. So, what’s the point of an e-ticket?” In addition, last-minute seating changes in certain venues saw some people scrambling for refunds.
The organizing committee has said it is resolving these issues as soon as possible and blames the initial excitement surrounding the games during the first few days. In its defense, Indonesia had limited time to prepare for the games as it had taken over the hosting duties in 2014 when Vietnam pulled out due to budget issues. The Asian Games are second only to the Olympics in terms of size and participation.
Bon Odori Jovi?
August is festival season in Japan since it coincides with Bon, the traditional period when families honor their ancestors by visiting family graves in their home towns, which commemorate the visits with local festivals. One of the features of these festivals is Bon Odori, a dance around a central platform in which all the members of the community participate. Over the centuries, some local Bon Odori events have become huge nationwide attractions, with competing teams of dancers joining in parades and large gatherings. 
Though the dances are usually performed to traditional folk music, in recent years some progressive types have added pop music to the mix, and the most recent viral video craze has been Bon Odori dancers dancing to … Bon Jovi! The song most often used is “Living on a Prayer.”
As it happens, the New Jersey rock band is scheduled to come this November to tour Japan, one of the first countries where they achieved stadium-level superstardom. Apparently the band itself caught wind of the Bon Odori craze, because on Aug. 18 they tweeted on the official Bon Jovi twitter account, “Hey Japan! We’re looking forward to seeing you guys dance like this when we play on Nov. 26th in Tokyo and 27th in Osaka!”
Kamaishi Recovery Stadium Opens
The Japanese and international media were out in force when the newly built Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium opened Aug. 19 with a memorial rugby match between the local Kamaishi Seawaves Rugby Football Club and Japan Rugby League leaders Yamaha Jubilo. It was a very emotional week for the city of Kamaishi, a former steel-making city and longtime port on the eastern coast of Iwate Prefecture that was almost totally destroyed in the tsunami produced by the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake of March 2011. Rugby has always played an important role in the history of Kamaishi.
The Recovery Memorial Stadium is also the only one of the 12 Rugby World Cup 2019 venues that is brand new, and the weekend events were considered a kind of preview for the world tournament. The stadium holds 16,000 people and will host two matches at the Rugby World Cup. 
The tsunami destroyed 30 percent of the homes in Kamaishi, 60 percent of the businesses, and 98 percent of the city’s fishing fleet. Kamaishi had always hosted national rugby championship teams, originally affiliated with Nippon Steel, which employed most of the residents, and rugby became a means of helping the city recover from the devastation. Less than three months after the tsunami, Yamaha Jubilo came to Kamaishi to play against the local team for the first match of the 2011 season. It was thus considered fitting that the same two teams open the new stadium. 
In his opening remarks, World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said, “The opening of the Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium marks a very special moment on the journey to Rugby World Cup 2019. The stadium stands as a testament to the indomitable spirit of the people of Kamaishi and will act as a beacon of hope and inspiration for generations to come, providing an important legace for the future of this region of Japan that rugby at its heart.”
The stadium was built on the former sites of a local elementary school and junior high school. Construction began in 2017. Its nominal capacity is 6,000 spectators, but during the World Cup 10,000 additional seats will be added on a temporary basis. 
2019 will mark the first time the Rugby World Cup has been held in Asia. Organizers are expecting 400,000 foreign visitors for the 48 matches in 12 host cities stretching the entire length of the Japanese archipelago. General tickets go on sale Sept. 19.