Tag Archives: 太鼓

Shibuya Crossing in London

5 Nov

In 渋谷 (Shibuya, Tokyo), there’s a famous intersection near the JR train station that, when the pedestrian signal turns green, all the cars have red lights and must stop and people can walk across the intersection in any direction.
The crosswalks are painted not only straight in four directions…but also diagonally.

shibuya

Shibuya Crossing

(Actually there are a number of intersections around Tokyo like this…but Shibuya’s is most famous).

Well, London, England has just made a similar crosswalk at one of that city’s busiest intersections.
At the opening ceremony for the new crosswalk, the Mayor of London said that the intersection’s new crosswalk is entirely based on Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo.

In fact, there were Japanese 太鼓 (Taiko drums) drummers playing at the opening ceremony!

london

London's new crosswalk based on Shibuya Crossing.

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秋祭

4 Oct

Today we went to a small local festival.

We enjoyed great Japanese festival foods such as fish, soup…and beer! 🙂

DSCF5360

DSCF5361

From there we went to a nearby shopping center.
Among the other stores we went into, we played a few games in the ゲーム・センター (video game arcade).

This "UFO Catcher" (crane game) has ice cream.

This "UFO Catcher" (crane game) has ice cream.

This one has potato chips.

This one has potato chips.

This is a タイコ (Japanese drum) drumming game.

This is a タイコ (Japanese drum) drumming game.

三つ巴

14 Aug

Do you know the Chinese yin-yang symbol?

Chinese yin-yang

Chinese yin-yang

It’s meant to symbolize how opposites complete everything.

Life and death. Male and female. Good and evil. And so on.

Many people in the West think that that symbol is used in all of Asia.

But it’s Chinese.

Other Asian countries have similar ones, though.

In Korea, they use a similar symbol but without the two contrasting colored dots. And their symbol is usually red and blue.korean-yin_yang

This symbol is on the Korean flag.

Flag of South Korea.

Flag of South Korea.

In Japan, the closest symbol to these is the 「三つ巴」 (“Mitsudomoe“).

Japanese 三つ巴

Japanese 三つ巴

There’s also a less-common version with two tomoe like the Chinese and Korean ones above…but it’s still uniquely Japanese. It’s called 「二つ巴 (“Futatsudomoe“):

Japanese 二つ巴

Japanese 二つ巴

In Japan, the mitsudomoe is more common than the futatsudomoe. It’s often seen on 提灯 (Japanese paper lanterns) and 太鼓 (Taiko drums).

I took this photo of a 三つ巴 on a 提灯 (paper lantern) with my cell-phone.

I took this photo of a 三つ巴 on a 提灯 (paper lantern) with my cell-phone.

Japanese 太鼓 drum

Japanese 太鼓 drum

It also can be seen as a 家紋 (Japanese family crest).

Here are a few common 家紋 (Japanese family crests)…the mitsudomoe is amongst them:

家紋

家紋

Japanese appreciate simple and less-flashy designs. So, 家紋 (Japanese family crests) are much simpler than colorful European family crests.

A European family crest

A European family crest

Japanese Festivals in America

12 May

It seems that there are a number of Japanese festivals in America at various times of the year and in various cities around America.

I’d like to attend a Japanese festival in America and see how similar or different it is from a real Japanese festival!

Have you ever been to a Japanese festival in America (or another country)? How was it?

I found information online about a few Japanese festivals in different U.S. cities:

  • Japan Fest, Atlanta (Georgia, USA)

    japan-fest-atlanta

    2009年9月19日(土曜日)から9月20日(日曜日)まで。 (Saturday, 19 September 2009 – Sunday. 20 September).

    All of the Japanese festivals in America that I found online have already finished this year…except this one.
    If you’re in Atlanta, Georgia USA this September 19 -20, you should consider checking out this festival.

    They have scheduled martial arts shows, 盆栽 (bonsai), 生花 (ikebana), アニメ (anime), Japanese food, etc.

  • The Japan-America Society Of Houston (Texas, USA)

    houston-japan

    This festival was held in Texas, USA on 2009年4月25日から4月26日まで。 (2009 April 25-26).

    Do you go to it?

  • National Cherry Blossom Festival, Washington D.C. (USA)

    japan-dc

    This year’s festival in Washington D.C. was held on 2009年3月28日から4月12日まで。 (2009 March 28 – April 12).

    Next year’s will be 2010年3月27日から4月11日まで。 (2010 March 27 – April 11).

    Did you go to this festival? Are you planning to go next year?

    I heard about this festival on the TV news here in Japan because Jero performed at it this year (I wrote a post about it last March. Click here to read it).

  • Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival of Greater Philadelphia (USA)

    philly-japan

    This year’s festival was on 2009年4月5日。 (2009 April 5).

There are many international festivals in Tokyo…

But I never knew there were so many Japanese festivals in America before. When I lived in America, I never heard about any Japan festivals. Are they a fairly recent* occurence? (* by recent, I mean since 1990.)
Is it because there’s currently a “Japan boom” in America?
Have you been to a Japan festival?

区民祭り

12 Oct

Every October we go to our local 区民祭 (Residents Festival). And when my kids were in the sixth grade, they were each in the festival’s marching band parade.

This year, my youngest daughter is in the sixth grade.

The 区民祭 (Residents Festival) was today and we just got home from it. My youngest daughter played the trombone in the parade.

This will be the last time any of my kids participate in this festival’s marching band. Of course we videotaped her in the parade (just as we did when her older sisters played in the parade).

Every ward in Japan has a local 区民祭 (Residents Festival) and they’re all a bit different (we’ve been to many of them…not just our local one).
A few things that they all have in common is the booths that sell food and drinks that are staples of Japanese festivals…but they also sell local specialties. They also have stages with local clubs and bands performing. And the local merchants and clubs have booths in which people can buy their wares…and in some cases, make something to take home–for free (for example, the local carpenters help kids make bookcases or stools to keep for free).

Here are a couple videos of booths selling food:

And here’s a huge pot of a delicious soup that was being sold:

And a video of it:

Do you know 太鼓 (Japanese Taiko giant drum)?
There was a 太鼓 (Japanese Taiko giant drum) show:

And three videos of the 太鼓 (Japanese Taiko giant drum) show:

There was a booth selling 盆栽 (Bonsai trees) too.
The least expensive one was ¥10,000 (about US$90):

They even had pony rides for the little kids. Here’s the pony on his break:

As it is every year…it was a good time!