December 28, 2018

New Year Holiday Announcement

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We have our new year holidays from Saturday December 29, 2018 to Thursday January 3, 2019. We will resume our work on Friday January 4, 2019. In Japan, most businesses and shops are closed during the term.

Wishing you a Happy, Healthy & Prosperous New Year of 2019!

Mount Fuji is a Good Luck!

Thank you!  

November 17, 2018

2018 Autumn Color Season

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We are now having autumn colors in Japan. This is NAGATORO (長瀞), Saitama Prefecture. There, you can enjoy a boat riding in a refreshing river. At evening, autumn colored maple leaves are lighted up in a park besides the river. Due to the global warming (?), the autumn color season seems to be getting late these days.

Thank you very much for visiting our blog!

November 13, 2018

Traditional "DASHI" Festival in a local city

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I visited Tochigi City (栃木市) last weekend and took photos of “DASHI” (山車) festival under the autumn clear sky. I would like to share our unique culture with the world. 

A “DASHI” is a festival cart with three or four wheels. Literally, "DASHI" is "mountain cart" or "mount wheel".  A dashi is similar to a parade float in other countries. People pull a dashi and parade around the town. A dashi is decorated with beautiful fabrics and crafts, and is mounted with dolls and arts. The doll and arts are created based upon historical stories to convey a message of peace, mightiness, etc. So, you need to know the background stories to understand the meaning of the dashi decorations, but I suppose most of the people coming to the festival don’t care about the meanings. They just enjoy!

On the dashi, elder masters and young boys & girls play the Japanese traditional drum and the flute on a small stage in front. The music played is called “Ohayashi”. There is no music note for the ohayashi. An ohayashi sounds just like a simple repeated music. When people hear ohayashi music, they will know straight away that a festival is going on somewhere in the town.

In the photo, you will see a funny man dancing at the head of the parade. He is wearing "Hyottoko" mask, and his job is close to that of a clown. 

The Tochigi Autumn Dashi Festival is held every other year and this year it was held on November 10 and 11. The festival dates back in 1874. One of the wealthy merchants in the town bought a dashi and started to march as an attention-seeking way aside a shrine festival.

Tochigi City is located approx. 90km north of Tokyo. In the city, there is a historical road where an imperial messenger once walked from Kyoto to Nikko Toshogu Shrine where Tokugawa Ieyasu is buried. Tokugawa Ieyasu was the first samurai who established the Edo-era that last for 260 years. There are several old houses beside the road preserved as they were in the era.

I hope you will enjoy the photos. 

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