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A Visit to Aomori

by kawaii_ninja:hellokitty.com

Late November K and I took the train up to Aomori to go visit the Aomori Museum of Art to see the Studio Ghibli exhibit. The exhibit was nice, it was concept art and story boards from all their movies. Some really gorgeous stuff. They had a pretty big store full of ghibli stuff, we picked up some fun and cute things like folders and stuffed animals.
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After the museum we went over to the Sannai Maruyama site. I really love the clay pottery and figures they’ve dug up.
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We wandered around the outside train station before catching the train back home and they had these interesting lantern displays set up.
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A few weeks later the first weekend of December, right before we left the country I went with 2 friends. Everything was getting decorated for Christmas. We stopped at an anime and manga shop, Village Vanguard a couple malls and then went to Ghibli exhibit. It was a fun trip!
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Hirosaki Chrysanthimum Festival

by kawaii_ninja:hellokitty.com

Late October we went up to Hirosaki for their annual chrysanthemum festival. Despite how many years we had been living in Japan, we had had never made it for this festival. I’m not quite sure what I was expecting, I think perhaps a bunch of old ladies and potted flowers is what I had imagined. While there were some, it was mostly these amazing displays made entirely of flowers. I really liked the samurai era displays where all their clothing was made of flowers.
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Hakkoda Mountain Hike

by kawaii_ninja:hellokitty.com

Mid October we went on a hike in the Hakoda foothills to see the fall foliage.  I had a lovely time, it wasn’t too cold, the leaves were beautiful and I got to go to a bunch of places I had never been before. It was beautiful, the leaves had changed colors and there was that crisp, pungent smell from the fallen leaves. We started out early to get to this old abandoned farmhouse that was really cool looking. It had a thatched roof with a tree growing out of it and parts of its walls were falling down. It was really fun to photograph, there were also this interesting hay stacks in a field too. After that we drove to this place a local sculptor had set up a bunch of his work. Then we went for a walk on part of the Hakkoda trail. Then we went up to the Towada-Hachimantai National Park. It was such a great day out too, beautiful weather, chilly but sunny out.

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Mikoshi Festival

by kawaii_ninja:hellokitty.com

August 2010

A mikoshi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikoshi) is a portable shrine used in Japanese Shinto traditions.  A bunch of groups from the community make the shrines and then decorate them elaborately, sometimes in very traditional themes, others in very modern motifs, like based on anime or manga, e.g. Neon Genesis Evangelion.   Then, like in this particular festival, there is a dance contest of sorts where the groups try to outdo each other by lofting the shrine from side to side in beat with the music.  It’s fun to watch and I’m told even more fun to participate in.

Not my best photos ever…


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 I also uploaded some video I took of the festival and put them together into a Dream Studio presentation.

http://video.sanriotown.com/video/c1cc7a8550508398

Tanabata

by kawaii_ninja:hellokitty.com

July 2010

 I got a little ahead of myself there, I forgot to write what the festival was all about.  The festival, held on a specific day during the summer, based on the Japanese lunisolar calander, is called the Tanabata Matsuri, or “Star Festival” in English.  The festival is based on a Chinese legend, and goes as follows:

 “According to an old legend, a king of the heavens separated his daughter, The Weaver Princess Star, from her husband, The Cow Herder Star, because their intense love kept them from their duties.  Now they can only meet once a year-on the eve of July 7th-by crossing the Milky Way…To celebrate this romantic story, people write poems and special wishes on colorful strips of paper called tanazaku,  and hang them from the limbs of bamboo trees.”

 Story from, Japanese Celebrations; Cherry Blossoms, Lanterns and Stars!  Written by B. Reynolds.  

These are the tanazuka, little paper strips that have wishes written on them.  The yellow one is by a little girl who wants to become a pet shop attendant.

 

I’m pleased with how this picture came out.

mmm…
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