Friday, June 15, 2012

Morioka, Poets and Festivals

Last weekend I was out and about around this great prefecture of Iwate. I had a day in Morioka, although the afternoon was taken by training for my job and an ALT here, and on Sunday I visited the nearby town of Mizasawa where there was a bit of a festival going on that a friend was involved in.
Ladies are bemused by my attempts to photograph a statue in Mizasawa.
 Mizasawa is around 35 minutes drive from my present home in Ichinoseki. The visit was to catch up with a friend who went through training with me, but well, suddenly their were more gaijin folk around, none of whom we knew, and it turned into a 2 hour chat session, with ice cream. The festival had wound down by the time I arrived, so not so much happening although still a fair bit of food on offer.
 What you see above this writing is some sort of photo-booth where they use a really bright flash and turn girls' faces white. Apparently that's rather in and especially the young girls in Japan seem to often get photos of themselves taken in these booths, often with friends. I'm not sure exactly what the photo on the outside of the machine says about the modern-day Japanese Teenage Girl, but I think we can safely assume that she is pretty girly. This is a common promoted sort of image across this country, and let's be honest she looks very cute, right? But am I the only one thinking that this is a little too sexualised? I mean she's a bloody doll!
Just a thought... don't want to get political or nothing!
 On to Morioka. I remember being surprised that Iran was so big on its poets - by the way lovely sculptured tree above, hey? - but so is Japan. And Iwate is the prefecture with a huge history of poets and... well I guess poetry. In Morioka, the capital of Iwate, you can visit a few homes that used to belong to now deceased poets. As for poets these days, well they may be popular but J-pop groups AKB48 and Arashi may just have the edge in popularity.
 This house is where the poet Takuboku used to live. The tatami mats you see are still popular features in Japanese homes. I have some in the bedroom, for example. Most Japanese homes have them in the bedroom still today, although this house had them throughout the 'open to the public' section. The little fire place is less common today.
I should comment on shoes in Japan. I have two pairs of black shoes to wear to work, then at school I change into my 'inside shoes'. Then at home people wear slippers BUT not the same ones for the balcony, or the toilet. Then on tatami mats no shoes is the usual go. All I know is, I am changing my footwear a LOT. Sigh. If there's one thing I miss about Australia it's using the same shoes all day. That and the earth being relatively stable.
 Hey ho! Yes festival time in Morioka too. Please don't ask me what the festival was for... oh wait no I know this one! The start of the Summer. Yes, there is some serious irony in the fact that it rained most of the day.
 There were drums and dancing and horses and people turned out to see it all too! Right down the main shopping strip of Morioka! What a buzz!
Earlier I visited this house, now a sort of gallery. The former home of Kenji Miyasawa. He wrote poetry and children's books and died in 1933. His house was nice, the gardens were very nice. All in all, nice! Worth a stop if you're wandering around Morioka at any rate.

In other news I have been getting my act into gear with the book and some new chapters are available. I also have my own author's page now so please visit it at

And as always I am grateful for all support. Will let you know about the chapters I have uploaded recently in my next post!

1 comment:

Traveling Hawk said...

An interesting post. I like the photos from the festival.