Sunday, December 28, 2008


(Chindonya - チンドン屋)

Maybe pruning is an absolute impossibility. Go somewhere and you've got to be prepared to follow unusual sights or sounds. In this most recent case, I was in Shinjuku to pick up a copy of the Metropolis magazine from my old Japanese language school, and I was walking back to the south end of Shinjuku station in order to try out the donuts at the New York Donut shop inside (got a cinnamon bun for $3, which was huge and quite good). But, before I got to the station, I faintly heard a weird drum and bell version of "Jingle Bells". Figuring that there might be something interesting going on, I turned the corner and encountered the above three women.

Turns out that they're "chindonya" - "bell drum advertisers". You can check out the description on wikipedia. This troupe's job was to walk around the block playing music to attract attention to the banners they're carrying. And, the banners here advertise a pachinko parlor. Since there are few active chindonya in Japan, I'd lucked out in being able to see this group in action.

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