A Travellerspoint blog

December 2009

NOVEMBER REPORT 1

Yabusame and Monkeys - My Junior High School Blog

One great thing about Japan is all the festivals. Almost every month there are holidays and festivals. In November the 3rd was a holiday, and there was a Yabusame festival at Oomijingo Temple on the same day. Yabusame is the old warrior art of shooting from a moving horse. I have tried many adventure sports in my life, so I have tried both archery and horse riding. The idea of a sport that combined the two sounded very exciting to me. So I called a friend and we agreed to go together.

When we arrived the event had not started yet, so we could meet the horses in their Yabusame ‘costumes’.

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When it started the Yabusame was very interesting. The riders went very fast and the targets they were shooting at got smaller and smaller so they needed a lot of skill to hit them.

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After the Yabusame had finished we met the archers and also took a quick look around the Oomijingo Temple too.

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I was surprised that the weather was still so warm and nice even though it was now November, and I wanted to do some more trip before it go too cold. So the next weekend I went to Arashiyama near Kyoto. What I really wanted to see were monkeys!

When I first arrived in Shiga I saw road signs with pictures of monkeys on them, but I had not seen a real monkey yet. I knew that there was a monkey park at Arashiyama, but I didn’t know that Arashiyama is such a nice place. The mountains, the river with all the boats, the bamboo groves; they all make it a wonderful place.

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Still the most important thing was monkeys! So it was time to go to ‘Monkey Mountain’.

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And I wasn’t disappointed – there were a lot of monkeys!!

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I particularly liked the feeding station, where the people had to go inside to feed the monkeys who were all free outside, it was a nice change for the people to be in the cage instead of the animals.

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After leaving Arashiyama I took a bit of time to look at the Christmas decorations in Kyoto too.

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All the decorations reminded me that it was almost Christmas – being in Japan I hadn’t thought about Christmas much and I still had to buy presents for my family!!

I'd also like to wish all my readers a BIG - MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Posted by DKJM74 23:33 Comments (0)

OCTOBER REPORT

My Junior High School Blog

The beginning of October was a very busy time in Imazu Junior High School. All the students were working very hard to prepare or the School Culture Festival (ぶんかさい). They practiced singing, made artwork and rehearsed their plays every day. I was very impressed.

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This was my first ぶんかさい and I was very excited. The festival lasted for 2 days and I took many photographs of the different activities. Most of all I liked the students’ artwork and the plays performed by the students. Everybody did a great job.

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The ぶんかさい was great fun and everybody had a good time. Thank you everybody for your hard work!

The day after the ぶんかさい I went hiking with my friend Leila. We took the train to Takashima, and the bus to the Gulliver Village and walked the path by the river there.

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It was a nice day and the waterfall was beautiful, it had rained a lot a few days before this and there was a lot of water in the river.

We stopped at the top of the falls for lunch

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and then hiked back down taking some nice pictures on the way.

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The next weekend was Otsu Matsuri. I went to a matsuri in Takayama before and really enjoyed it. Traditional Japanese culture is very interesting for me, so I was happy to go to another matsuri. Japanese festivals are so lively with all the colours and music – but most of all I like the puppet shows on the festival floats.

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As well as the parade there were many stalls with food, drink and games. I was very surprised to see people playing a game where they tried to catch baby turtles on a paper scoop.

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The next big school event in October was the Inter School Sports Day on the 16th. Students from all the schools in Takashima visited each other to compete in various competitions. I was free to visit any school I wanted and watch any of the competitions; so I watched volleyball, table tennis, soft ball and kendo.

There was great weather for the soft ball game and I was very pleased with some of the photos I took there. I’m not a big sports fan so I don’t usually photograph sports, but this was fun.

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I also got some nice action photos of students training Kendo with the teachers.

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The Imazu Junior High Kendo team also won a prize which was great.

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After the events finished I decided to walk back to Imazu from Shinasahi. Sometimes I really like to walk through the smaller streets of the towns here – for me there are many interesting and surprising things to see. Autumn is also my favourite season when it’s warm and dry!!

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Of course for many English people the most important date in October is the 31st – Halloween! Going out on Halloween is always a lot of fun, it’s a great time to dress up and wear a strange costume and enjoy a party. The best Halloween costumes are always the horror costumes so I decided to make a vampire costume this year.

I wanted to wear a shirt with rips and blood on it, and Kyoto Sensei very kindly gave me some old shirts to use for my costume. I did a lot of experiments and was very pleased with the final result.

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I decided that the best place to spend Halloween was Osaka. It is such a big lively city, something interesting is always happening there – for example street wrestling! I don’t know why these people were wrestling in the street, but it was very entertaining!!

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I was right that Osaka was a great place for Halloween as well; there were many people out on the streets in great costumes. I saw some of the best Halloween costumes I’ve ever seen there.

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I spent a long time on the streets just meeting people chatting to them and taking pictures, and then I went to a place with great music and danced all night. When I went to bed that night October had finished and it was November already!!

Posted by DKJM74 16:40 Comments (0)

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