Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

February 21, 2011

Japanese Cultural Night #2

Filed under: General — Tags: , — admin @ 5:48 am

Saturday Night Live.

Last night I went out to the second Japanese Cultural Night at the Ski-jo up the road(Furano, Hokkaido, Japan). The last one was a few weeks ago so I was looking forward to a good night out to see some genuine Japanese Culture. They have Calligraphy, Origami and Japanese Face Painting before the performance. The kids tried out some Calligraphy and painted the kanji for “friend” and “bravery”. About 6:45pm the first performance started. It was a Hyottoko Dance and it had been talked about by our Ski Hosts that day as being a “suggestive” dance. I did not know what to make of that and was a bit wary to be honest.

The performers of the dance all had masks on. I think they were made from ceramic and looked very comical indeed. As far as I could tell, it was some kind of fertility dance to make the crops grow, I think. I just looked it up on Wikipedia and Hyottoko may have been a legendary figure that blew fire with a bamboo pipe. In Iwate Prefeture, the dance is reputed to bring good fortune. One of the most famous places for the Hyottoko dance is Miyazaki and the dance is believed to be as old as the Edo period.

The next performance was Japanese Traditional Folk Music Min-yo by the Shishido Family. Min-yo are folk songs that are connected to forms of work or to specific trades. One song was called So-ranbushi and was sung by herring fishermen.

“Ya-ren so-ran so-ran so-ran so-ran so-ran (Haihai)
I asked the sea gull did the herring come
I am Tatsutori hear it from the wave choi
Yasae ereya-an sa-ano dokkoisho (Ha-Dokkoisyo dokkoisyo)”

Other min-yo are for the purposes of entertainment, accompaniment for a dance, or as part of religious rituals. Another song that the group performed was about the Ishidake River. Each area of Japan has its own distinctive style and songs.

The group played the Shamisen, which is a three-stringed musical instrument, similar to a guitar, which is played with a plectrum called a bachi.

The highlight of the night was me winning a bottle of Sho-chu in the lucky door prize. Last time I was very disappointed that I did not win a lucky door prize, so I was very excited. Sho-chu is a Korean drink that is twenty percent alcohol. Call it Korean rotgut. You have to drink lemonade or fruit juice with it to disguise the vile taste. It is the basis for the Chu-hi drinks which you can buy at the supermarket for about 120 Yen. They are a delicious grapefruit alchoholic drink.

Sources: Wikipedia.

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress