Bachata en Fukuoka

Keeping up with a Japanese culture blog when you lead a busy life can be hard, but it seems that whatever I do, wherever I go, Japan finds me. A lot of my free time these days is taken up with Latin dancing (salsa and bachata), and a while ago my teacher pointed out that one of the bachata songs he had played was about Japan. I had blocked out the lyrics, assuming they were Spanish and I wouldn’t understand them, but when I listened I realised the song was about Fukuoka, in Kyushu Prefecture, and it even included some Japanese words!

Here’s the song, ‘Bachata en Fukuoka’ (Bachata in Fukuoka):

The song is by Juan Luis Guerra, who is from the Dominican Republic where bachata originated. The track was released in 2010, and Guerra wrote it after visiting Fukuoka and performing. I assume he must have visited Fukuoka to play at the Isla de Salsa festival, which takes place yearly on Nokonoshima (能古島), a small island off the coast of Fukuoka (福岡).

Nokonoshima

I don’t know much Spanish, so I have relied on internet searches to translate the lyrics of ‘Bachata en Fukuoka’ into English. It goes something like this:

Tell to the morning that my dream is nearing
That what you have been waiting for patiently can be achieved
Nine hours to Paris I travelled without knowing
And I crossed Russia with a stopover at your mouth

I sang your bachata here in Fukuoka
(your bachata in Fukuoka)

And a sunset canvas painted the sky
I walked Momochi beach, in my yearning
And my soul let off a smile
Here I was taught arigatou gozaimasu [thank you]

Bachata en Fukuoka

I sang your bachata here in Fukuoka

To dance with you, (to dance)
My tune gets cheered
I want to sing with you, (I want to)
A bachata in Fukuoka

A bachata in Fukuoka, (to dream about you)
Seagulls by the sea

Bachata en Fukuoka

Cherishing your skin (I want to)
Live a bachata in Fukuoka

And it’s time to depart and bid sayonara [goodbye] (with a few desires)
A little pigeon landed on my window
Konnichiwa! Ohayou gozaimasu! [Hello! Good morning!]

To dance with you, (to dance)
My tune gets cheered
I want to sing with you, (I want to)
A bachata in Fukuoka

A bachata in Fukuoka

Bachata en Fukuoka

Dreams, of sand and waves
Kisses, you bring with your mouth
I have, stars and roses
Baby, singing in Fukuoka

To dance with you, (to dance)
My tune gets cheered
I want to sing with you, (I want to)
A bachata in Fukuoka

A bachata in Fukuoka, (to dream about you)
Seagulls by the sea

Cherishing your skin
Live a bachata in Fukuoka

Bachata en Fukuoka

The music video tells the story of an elderly Japanese woman who picks up a piece of paper from the pavement with a spiral pattern drawn on it. Recognising it, she gets on a bus out of the city and whilst riding the bus reverts to her youth. The young woman gets off the slow bus and cycles to the beach in a hurry, where she finds a young man waiting for her with the spiral drawn in the sand. They dance together on the sand, and then in the sky (the video gets a bit weird!), before finally both reverting to their older age and continuing to dance on the beach.

It’s a really catchy song, and is one of my favourites now I’ve spotted the Japanese connection. I’d love to have the chance to go to the Isla de Salsa festival in Fukuoka one day, and to see what Latin dancing is like in Japan. I imagine it would be a lot of fun to dance on the beach to live music – it looks fantastic in this video:

I’ve never been to any part of Kyushu, but perhaps in a couple of years I can get over there and combine my love for Japan with my passion for Latin dancing!

4 thoughts on “Bachata en Fukuoka

  1. Kyushu is a beautiful place – I was in Fukuoka this May and went down to Yakushima which was also amazing. Its definitely a place I want to explore more and that festival sounds like a lot of fun!

    Like

  2. Charming: thanks.
    My recent discovery is the series of appealing short videos on YT called Tabinohoshi – 42 parts so far. I recommend them.

    Like

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