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kawaii_ninja@hellokitty.com

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Aomori City

The Nabuta festival is during the middle of summer and is a fun way to forget about the heat. Lots of people dress up in the traditional festive garb and participate in the parade. You can rent an outfit from many shops, but they’re pretty expensive. The festival consits of many floats being pulled by hand followed by dancers and people playing flutes, drums and cymbols. It’s a very fun atmosphere with lots of food vendors and booths with souviners. As the dancers follow the route they shout “Rasera rasera raseraserasera!” It’s very catchy, and the drums are so loud you can feel it in your bones. I’d highly recomend it if you can only make it for one festival. You can also check out wikipedia for more info too.


So cute ^^

A gigantic drum.


They got light up hats.

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kawaii_ninja@hellokitty.com

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Sendai

Sendai is northern Japan’s fashion and electronics center. We took a bus trip down there from Misawa which was a 4 hour drive. When we got there we realized the train station was right downtown and we could have saved ourselves 3 hours of traveling but oh well XD live and learn. So we had about 5 hours to walk around there, and it was raining out XD It was clear in Misawa so we didn’t even think to bring an umbrella with us lol. The whole down town is practically an outside mall, there is so many stores. Oh, and tons of arcades ^^ I really enjoyed those, I played a couple UFO (claw game) machines but didn’t win anything ; ; I really tried to get a Piplup (pokemon) plush, it was huge, but the Japanese claw games are much harder the the American one cause most only have 2 claws instead of 3 or 4. A big majority of the outdoor shopping area is covered so we were dry for the most part. Oh, at one of the intersections there was a big clock that when it struck the hour and half hour it played a melody and panels rotated around and little guys played instruments.

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kawaii_ninja@hellokitty.com

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Towada jinja (shrine)


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A Torii gate leading to the temple grounds.

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So, I’m by no means an expert on Shinto customs, but it seems to me that this is part of the ritual of cleansing before you go to a shrine. I know the picture isn’t that great, but it’s a metal dragon with water coming out of its mouth. Sitting on the side is a metal cup on a stick that you first rinse off twice with the water coming out, and then on the thrid you take a drink. Also, you can see little glass containers on the back there, it’s a sake offering.

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The front of the main temple at Towada, I dunno what it’s called. The area has this nice quiet peaceful feel.

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A couple getting their fortunes. I’m not entirely sure on the ritual, but you go up the step, spread your arms to your side, bring them together and clap, do that twice, then bow with your hands together, then you put in your offering (there was a box with a sign on it for 100 yen), ring the bell twice, and then take a paper out of another box with your fortune on it. After you read it you tie it to a fence that they have in front of the temple.

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Little shrines next to the temple.

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A shrine in the middle of the town.

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A shrine on a little island in the lake.

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kawaii_ninja@hellokitty.com

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Kabuki

On Saturday we went on a tour to see a Kabuki show. It was a lot of fun, and a lot different then I thought it was gonna be. I thought I was going to be all traditional and serious, but in fact they kept with the original theme of the show, that it was for the masses more then a show for nobility. Before and after there was a drum and variety show that was so much fun. Since it’s just guys that play all the roles in traditional Kabuki they played on that by having a funny dance number with a dude in a woman’s ball gown did this funny dance number. Then this other guy came out in a dress but had giant red lips on and did a parody of the first guys dance XD Unfortunately we couldn’t take pictures during the show.

The story we watched was about this guy who had been arrested before and just got out of prison and was heading to visit his sister. When he shows up the sister is now married and has a daughter (his niece). He gives his niece some money to go buy some pretty cloth for a new kimono and she runs off. Then the sister’s husband shows up and wants nothing to do with the man because of his bad reputation and kicks the guy out. The daughter shows back up at this point and is so happy because of the gift she got, so she shows it to her father and he takes it and throws it on the ground. That starts a fight between the two men, and it was a pretty nifty fight scene, then the father gets his butt handed to him, so he runs in the house and grabs a knife and they start fighting again. But the daughter tries to stop them and gets knocked into the fight and accidentally gets stabbed. Both the father and brother stop fighting and are so upset at the girl getting hurt. It’s a very dramatic scene while she is dying, but the men manage to reconcile their anger, but then the police show up and the brother offers himself up to them for killing the girl, and they take him away.

The theater that we went to is the oldest wooden working Kabuki Theater in Japan. We got to go on a tour after the show, they took us back stage. It was pretty cool, they showed us the trap door called the snapping turtle door because it resembles a snapping turtles head, and the rotating stage that is human powered, and the dressing room. The dressing room’s walls are signed by all the actors that had/have worked there. I got some pictures, some didn’t come out so well but others came out nice.

Here’s some history on Kabuki. It was originally performed by women who after the shows were prostitutes. So then the government banned women from performing in the plays because it wasn’t “conducive to good morale”, whatever that meant XD So then young males played the roles, and then prostituted themselves out afterwards, and then they were banned, and only older males were allowed by the government to act in the plays.


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The front of the Korukan Theater, it was built in 1910. The front is western style, but the inside is all Japanese style.

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The driveway up to the theater, very festive.

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The dressing room, it’s bigger then the picture shows, but all the walls are covered with the signatures of all the people who have acted here. There are some famous ones that they put a sheet of glass in front of so that they won’t get diminished.

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A little sign they posted about the rotating stage.

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One of the poles used to push the rotating stage by hand.

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A wider picture of under the stage, it’s really big, I was really surprised.

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One of the metal wheels that the stage moves on, it’s big.

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kawaii_ninja@hellokitty.com

http://blog.sanriotown.com/kawaii_ninja:hellokitty.com

 

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Wheh, been a while. Lot’s ‘o school and work >< The Terms this year are blah, this Sunday the term I’m currently in ends, and Monday the new one begins. >< This last term I took and interesting class called The Psychology of Persuasion, and this coming term I’m taking one called India: The weight of tradition on the modern world. I’m excited but also afraid there will be quite a bit of writing involved. Work has been extremely busy lately and that cuts down my homework time. I’ve also been playing Hello Kitty Online (HKO) and helping out on the wiki when I have the time, my characters name is Chihiro. ^^

In October K and I went on a hiking trip through the Oirase gorge. It’s on the way to Lake Towada and we’ve wanted to walk it since we got here and finally had the chance. It’s supposed to be one of the nicer places in Japan to hike during the fall and see all the pretty foliage, but unfortunately when we went the leaves hadn’t changed yet. I think they would be now though because the leaves are turning here around where we live now. It’s been a later fall than it usually is here, staying pretty warm until nearly November. Just recently we’ve had our first cold spell and had to turn on the heat. But I heard some states have gotten snow already, which is unusual for those states.

Oirase gorge is known for its waterfalls and we did get to see several of those. They were really nice, and everything was such a beautiful green. I had a very fun time of it. ^^ It’s a very well maintained trail too, and the day we were there, there was a group cleaning up the trash along the trail and the road that runs parallel to it. I got an interesting picture of some of their group going up some steps. They look like they’re elves on their way to the boats to leave the world in the Lord of the Rings. XD

I’ll go into some of the waterfalls because the tour people gave us a sheet with the Chinese characters for the names as well as an English description of what the names mean. I unfortunately lost the map that marked which waterfall I had gotten to, so I’m just going to name some of the more interesting ones. There is the Mouth of the Mouse waterfall, the One Thousand Senryo (it’s an old Japanese currency) rock, Ten thousand Senryo stream, Great Bottle of Sake Fall, Nine Step Fall, Elder and Younger Sister Fall, the Un-Aging Fall, White Thread Fall, the Gem Bead Screen Fall, the Long-nosed Flying Goblin Rock, and the Asura (a guardian god of Buddhism) Stream to name a few.






So we walked the trail and ended up at Lake Towada where we caught a ferry to Yasumiya. K and I love going there, especially to the temple. It was a bit of a windy day so that did damper things a little, but otherwise we had a great time!


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