Yosakoi key to enjoying Kochi

The tall, beautiful red-haired exchange student, Julia Olsson from Sweden, is practicing the dance movements enthusiastically, sometimes laughing out loud and sometimes she and her Yosakoi teammates’ eyes meet happily at the campus of Kochi University. But everyone takes the dancing seriously. The festival is coming soon. Continue reading Yosakoi key to enjoying Kochi

“Circle” festival in Ino

It is getting cool when the sky begins to darken on June 30th. As we get out the car, we can hear the excited voices of children, see the various colors of yukata (Japanese garment) and the many yatai  selling takoyaki (octopus ball), watagashi (cotton candy), ningyo-yaki (something like sponge cake) and so on. People form lines to the yatai that line the way to Sugimoto shrine. We push our way through the crowd and walk through under a Torii (a gateway to a Shinto shrine) and catch sight of the big circle about 250cm woven from imperata cylindrical–the “circle” festival is well under way. Continue reading “Circle” festival in Ino

Sports Festival in Nanasato

It is a beautiful sunny day and on the small elementary school’s athletic field, about 200 people have gathered to join in a “sports festival”. Many children and adults play running race, a tug of war, and KIBASEN (knights on horseback) and so on. We can see some University students and exchange students too. Many neighbors or old people from all over the area also come to the sports festival to cheer them on. During the lunch time participants enjoyed foreign country’s foods made by exchange students such as tacos, Chinese fried rice, and fresh spring roll. This International sports festival produced by Kochi University students in a small rural area, Nanasato in Kochi.
Continue reading Sports Festival in Nanasato

A Little Journey to Ekin

It’s one in the afternoon in the Ekin Museum called “Ekinkura” in Akaoka city. A woman in the museum says to me, “Watch your step. This way, please.” She passes me a paper lantern. When I turn on its switch, in the darkness, a blazing red color called “Chiaka” spreads out as far as the eye can see. Some look of pain on her face and there is bleeding from her lip, others are crying with laughter. They all have a lot of energy which seem just about to start moving or come from out of the darkness. And when I bring a paper lantern close to them, I suddenly notice that they are on the planar painting on a folding screen. “Wow! This is Ekin’s works!!” I’m here alone, but the words just jumped out of my mouth. I come here to learn about Ekin’s life, however, I become absorbed by Ekin’s fantastic works as I almost forget my central aim. Continue reading A Little Journey to Ekin

Kanzashi & the Yosakoi-bushi

by S. Minami

Harimayabashi, present day

One day during Edo period, a Buddhist priest named Junshin was in a small accessories shop at the foot of Harimaya bridge with strained look. He wanted to buy a present for his girl friend Ouma. He had been hanging around the shop for a long time so he was become the focus of public attention. At that time, there is a regulation that priests mustn’t fall in love with someone, so it was very weird that a priest was even in the accessories shop. Then suddenly he entered the shop again like he determined something and gripped one kanzashi (a long ornamental hairpin ; Japanese women had used it to have their hair dressed in traditional style,) and bought it while hanging his head shyly. When he came out the shop, his face was full of delight and satisfaction.

土佐の高知の  (In Kochi of Tosa)

はりまや橋で  (At Harimaya-bashi)

坊さんかんざし買うを見た  (A priest bought a kanzashi)

よさこい よさこい  (Yosakoi, Yosakoi)

Continue reading Kanzashi & the Yosakoi-bushi

Tosa Fighting Dog

by Ami

Going along a coast road beside beautiful blue sea and sky, I reached Katsurahama. At Tosa token center here in Katsurahama park, we can see Tosa fighting dogs. Do you know Tosa-Inu?  What do you imagine about them?

Tosa-Inu is Japanese cultural icon. They have big body and are brave.  Perhaps you may have felt frightened of them. But the real ones are gentle.
Soon after I enter the center, I meet very pretty puppies. They are quite obedient and they seldom bark. Even when children pull their tails and play with them roughly, they don’t get angry. Continue reading Tosa Fighting Dog

Art of the Kayakuya: Fireworks

by Koike

Every August, at 7:00 pm on the eve of the Yosakoi festival, people wearing traditional yukata and waving uchiwa fans crowd the  banks of Kagami-river and  line Tenjin-bridge. They leave their houses very early to try to find best place for watching. Best place for watching what? To see the fireworks display on a summer evening at Kagami-river! The air is filled with excitement and  smells of sweat. They wait impatiently for the display to begin. It’s 7:30 now. With an announcement, the fireworks begin. The fireworks are fired off with various colors and roaring sound. The spectators utter few cries every time the fireworks are launched. Some people are opening their umbrellas because of the ash which falls from the sky. Continue reading Art of the Kayakuya: Fireworks

Cosmos Festival

by Kazuto

Kochi is at the height of summer. The sun is shining very strongly. I am on a motor bike on my way to Ochi town. It takes more than one hour to get there from Kochi city. It is exceptionally hot today. Soon after arriving in Ochi town, the heat made me jump into a river. Maybe it is the cleanest river I have ever seen. I am like a small child now. How did we lose our childlikeness like that? The one thing is certain. Becoming an adult doesn’t always have a good effect on us. That seems to mean losing our comfortable childhood, dreams and hopes. Some families are enjoying camping on the riverside, and some of them were frowning as if they saw something strange in the river…

Continue reading Cosmos Festival

The Hamono Festival

by Shinichiro

If you come to 鏡野 (Kagamino) park in 土佐山田 (Tosayamda) town on a Saturday or Sunday middle of October, you’ll find many people there. What are they doing? It seems to be a festival.  As you can see the picture, there are so many cutlery. We Japanese call cutlery to 刃物 (Hamono). That’s why this festival is called ‘Hamono festival’.

But what is Tosa-uchi-hamono? We’ll get to that, but first, about the festival. Continue reading The Hamono Festival

Furafu: Friend of Koinobori

by Saya

A car went through the lane, and a flag came into view. A shop was surrounded by private houses. I opened the door, the shop was jammed with big flags. Wherever I looked, there were big flags. Many famous characters which figure in history or are popular among children and adults were painted on these flags.

“I’m happy that you came, though it’s rainy today.” Continue reading Furafu: Friend of Koinobori

Our Sawachi

by Chihiro

In the village of Karyogo, in Nahari town–which prospered in Taisho and Showa periods from ocean Tuna fishery–is a shrine named Nobumori Jinja. In the autumn once a year, the Jinsai festival is held to get the god’s blessing for catching lots of fish. At night there is a party, an “Enkai” where the good harvest is eaten with god’s blessings. The meaning of such a Japanese traditional festival is to share food and drink with god. Continue reading Our Sawachi