カテゴリ:-Shibuya( 4 )
Japanese Pop Culture Rocks!
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After watching a special dance and talking with Yosuke, I spoke with other visitors from abroad.

At first, I approached two young visitors from Germany. In fact, they were back packers. They came to visit Tokyo via Australia. I asked how they came to visit the city. They answered “Actually, we wanted to see Gothic Lollita Fashion, but there was no one there near the station. So we came here. By the way, the dance was really cool! “ It seemedthat they really enjoyed the dance. It alsoseemed that Gothic-Lollita fashion enthusiastscame to this famous place on Saturday. Theywere exposed to the special fashion through the Internet. They also visited the inside ofYoyogi park. They said with excited voices,“There were also many interesting and unique people in the park! So cool!!”.

d0160582_965625.jpgThen, I approached another man. He was aphotographer from Brooklyn, NY. He told me about his impression of the Harajuku area. According to him, “I usually take photos of Africa, but I personally think that this Harajuku area is one of the best, unique places in the world. I could take many interesting photos!” He said with calm voice.

Near Harajuku station, I happenned to meet Gothic Lollita fashion enthusiasts from abroad! They came from Spain and Czech. “Where did you buy the cute dress?” I asked. She said that she bought it at a clothing shop in Harajuku! Of course, she looks really happy. I also asked about the key point of their fashion. They said, “We don’t imitate Gothic Lollita fashion perfectly. We coordinate by ourselves.” It was the third time they had visited the Harajuku area during their trip. They do like Japanese Pop Culture, so they study the Japanese language and culture through the Internet and by reading manga. This means that they can speak three languages at least?! Wow!
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They are really friendly and cute!

I wanted to speak with more people from abroad. I will try to interview more people next time. I am sure that I can sharewonderful stories. Anyway, what I was shocked about was that one of the interviewee from Czech was wearing the neckless which the character (that I don’t know) was printed. She said that “I am a big fan of ○○○○(the name of the character)!!!”. Funnn…it seems that Japanese pop culture is really deep. When I said good bye to them, they said “Ja-a-ne!”(means, good-bye in casual Japanese) and waved. Cool!
[PR]
by TOKYO_YUCa_ENG | 2010-11-30 22:30 | -Shibuya
Feel the rule! - Continuing Japanese culture
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I visited the Harajuku area the other day. Atthe entrance of Yoyogi park, I saw the crowds. Almost all the people there were foreigners, visiting from abroad.
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d0160582_21455414.jpgIn the middle of the crowd, there were men inblack T-shirts, Black pants and special hair-styles (what we call “Regent Hair”). Also, there were women wearing bright colored one-piece skirts with pony tail hair-styles. When they were circling around, their skirts moved with them.

I asked some questions to one of theperformers, Yosuke-san, who was in charge of the performance that day.
d0160582_2146646.jpgI asked him when they usually perform. He asked that performers have their careers, so they gather to dance every Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm. I also asked him how they practice on weekdays. I found out that each performerpractices by themselves on weekdays and perform with the group on Sunday! This means that there is a chance to perform in front of people every weekend so performersmust practice really hard!

I was impressed that those performers were not scouted, but gathered naturally. In the field, there were 3 different dance groups. They were dancing with caring another group so that they would not obstruct another group. In addition, it seemed that they neverforgot to pick up the garbage after the performance. They also remembered to respect older people. Yosuke-san said “We just do really simple things.” When we pointed our camera at him, he posed for us. He’s so cool, isn’t he?
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Yosuke-san is leading the team.

Wow, the twist looks so technical!

♪ I was lucky and so happy that I could talk with Yosuke-san. I didn’t know that they havesuch a warm heart and strong spirit. They were promoting Japanese Culture. I was so amazed to know that they take out the garbage to clean up the place and respectsenior people. It seems like a normal thing but it’s part of the Japanese spirit. ;-D
[PR]
by TOKYO_YUCa_ENG | 2010-11-09 21:55 | -Shibuya
The Kingyo Mikoshi at Kingyo Matsuri
d0160582_8164843.jpgWhile viewing artwork being created by children, we heard the announcement, “Kingyo mikoshi* ga hajimarimasu! (A goldfish mikoshi will start!) Oatsumari kudasai---! (Come and join us!)”.

“Goldfish mikoshi?!” I was excited to join the parade. I could see some big, red object in the distance. As we approached, I wondered "Isn't that a goldfish? Yes, it is!” It’s a mikoshi (portable shrine) which is in the shape of a goldfish.
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It is really big!!

d0160582_8173459.jpgLooking at the goldfish mikoshi in detail, you can see it has an open mouth. What a charming mikoshi! “Compared to the real size, how much bigger is it?” I wonder. A lot of children began to gather. Some children came by individually to carry the portable shrine, and others *especially really small children) were taken by their parents. There were also children who decided just to watch. Since it was a rainy day, the kingyo mikoshi had a transparent raincoat (means, coated vinyl bag) while the children wore colorful raincoats. It made for a beautiful color contrast!

Not only children, but the staff wore the traditional jacket, called “Hanten”, to look forward to carry the kingyo mikoshi. They taught the children how to carry the mikoshi safely and raise the morale. Dangling a bell around the neck and grasping the bridle, now it’s time to carry the kingyo mikoshi!
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They look a little bit nervous, right?
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Let’s go, everybody!
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Wa-sshoi! Wa-sshoi!

d0160582_8191284.jpgThey started walking in a shrine, saying "Wa-sshoi! Wa-sshoi!" with an ashamed look. Under the kingyo mikoshi, there was a child who was walking with his mother. He was short enough to touch the mikoshi. He seemed to question “What is going on here? Where’s everyone heading for?", which made me really happy to see.

*mikoshi: A mikoshi is an ornate palanquin-like portable shrine in which the ghost or spirit of a Shinto shrine deity is believed to ride. During shrine festivals, scores of believers wind through the town carrying the mikoshi on their shoulders.

In spite of the rainy weather, a lot of children came to the goldfish festival. As I mentioned in my previous article, I gained many insights as a result of this event. In the future, I definitely want to be a part of these kinds of traditional festivals.

〔information〕
Yoyogi-hachiman Shinto shrine
For more informations, please see HP(http://www.yoyogihachimangu.or.jp/).
[PR]
by TOKYO_YUCa_ENG | 2010-06-14 22:29 | -Shibuya
Kingyo Matsuri at Yoyogi-hachiman shrine
I visited the "Kingyo Matsuri (Goldfish festival) ", an annual event that takes place at the Yoyogi-hachiman shrine. This event was once cancelled at the beginning of the Taisho era, but was revived by local area residents in 2003 and has run every year since.
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The path to the shrine. The atmosphere is beautiful.
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In front of the main shrine, there were many people.

d0160582_1395717.jpgAlthough it was a rainy day, many children still came to visit the shrine, wearing colorful raincoats and carrying umbrellas. On the way, the garden lantern was shining. It made the atmosphere unique and memorable.

Many goldfish items were being sold at the main shrine including:lucky charms, key rings, towels, special jackets for the traditional festival called “hanten” and goldfish ornaments made of “Washi(Japanese papers)”. My favorite is the ornament of the goldfish. They are so lovely and come in many different sizes.
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A pair of goldfish watch the people that visit the shrine.
How were these ornaments created?
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Goldfish scooping. Everyone enjoyed this activity.
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She’s got many goldfish. Big smile!
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Congratulations! It’s a big catch!

The best part of the festival are the outdoor stalls. In the Yoyogi-hachiman shrine, you could find wata-ame(cotton style candy), ama-zake (sweet sake), popcorn, Barbeque chicken, Okonomiyaki (pan cake), Yakisoba (noodle) , juice and more food. There is also a flea market. The Shibuya area has some popular food called, "Hachiko source". The fruit flavor seems is recommended.
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Girls are eating “wata-ame”! Looks yummy!
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I tried “yaki-tori”. It was 250 yen for three sticks.
A reasonable price and delicious!

d0160582_1320095.jpgI was so surprised to learn that there were traditional festivals in the middle of Tokyo, in the Yoyogi area. Furthermore, I personally like the name itself, "Goldfish festival". Children of all ages visited there. I think that the environment that surrounds children in present day, such as the development of Personal Computers, studying at cram school on weekends, less family living with grandparents and lacking conversations with seniors, is having strong impact on them. So I originally thought that modern day children wouldn’t appreciate or enjoy these traditional events. But, seeing them, they appeared to be enjoying it a lot! Some kids chatted with the man selling stag beees. I saw another kid asking about catching goldfish. Other kids were excited as they tried to win prizes. Children will naturally grow up thriving on culture if there are such wonderful festivals and opportunities in their cities and villages. This is why I think that shrines might be one of the most important and best places to educate children.

〔information〕
Yoyogi –hachiman shrine
For more details, please visit its HP(http://www.yoyogihachimangu.or.jp/).
[PR]
by TOKYO_YUCa_ENG | 2010-06-07 20:57 | -Shibuya