Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Meiji Furusato, Nov. 4

Well, Sunday was the last day of the 10-day Meiji Restoration 150th Anniversary Furusato event. I really expected more from it, and to spend more time at it, but that didn't work out. As mentioned previously, I had to work Saturday, during the bulk of Day 2 of Ohara Matsuri, and at the end when I got up to Kotsuki River, the laser projection mapping show was wrapping up. I'd seen a really nice laser show one year ago at the Volunteer Center, where they'd mapped over a big granite building nearby. That worked out very well, but the attempt to map onto the Meiji Restoration Museum on Saturday was pretty much a failure because it's a much shorter building and there's a lot less to map onto.

That left Sunday. I'd been studying the schedule pretty closely, and most of the stage events were going to be traditional folk dances, and the comic parodies of the conflicts at the end of the Meiji revolution period. I did want to see a bit of that, but I wasn't able to get out of the apartment until 3 PM. At that point, all that was left was the soba (buckwheat) harvest dance, and one other piece that I didn't catch the name for. I took a bunch of photos to cherry-pick the best ones for the blog, then headed over to Amu Plaza. One of the guys I know, who really likes music and dancing, had told me he'd be on stage at the west end of the train station on the 4th, with a number of other performers, but he couldn't tell me what the event was. Anyway, I knew something was happening over there, and it was worth swinging by while I was waiting for the next thing here at the Furusato event.

One of the Meiji era reenactments was going on at the same time as the dancing, and I took a couple photos of that as well. Here we have Saigo, Oryo, and Okubo. Right behind me was also Saigo, Oryo and Okubo, and a bit over to my left was Saigo and Okubo. I really wanted to get extra pictures of that, but everyone kept moving around and I couldn't get the shot. Anyway, there were three different sets of actors all in the same place at the same time. The two to the left may have been from the NHK TV show (they'd been on the bus at Ohara on Saturday), and the other three behind me were the comics. They all presented completely opposing images of Saigo, Okubo and Oryo, so it was pretty surreal having them all in one place like that. (The comic Saigo is below.)

Saigo (left) never goes anywhere without his dog. The problem is, the real Saigo Takamori loved western breeds, with big floppy ears. According to one newspaper article from a few years ago, when the government paid for the creation of a bronze statue of Saigo to be placed in the park in Ueno (Tokyo) a long time ago, the public was outraged at the representation of the dog the artist included. The complaint was that the dog looked Chinese, and was therefore offensive, so the artist trimmed its ears to make it look more like an Akita breed. That's the kind of dog everyone associates with Saigo now, which literally is a complete fabrication.

(Comic Saigo)

The stuff going on at Amu Plaza turned out to be a lot more interesting than I'd been expecting, and I stayed until that started slowing down at 5:30 PM. I came back to the Meiji Restoration building just as the projection mapping was starting up again, and that looked to be a repeat. So I continued on over to the second stage, where comic Saigo was preparing the audience for the last stage show of the festival. This was also a repeat, so I took a last couple photos, then went home for dinner. It's been a long week, and I'm still fighting with my allergies, so I don't want to drink much, or stay outside long as the temps drop. My throat is recovering slowly, as I drink tons of vitamin C, and I don't want to risk it getting worst at this point because I have English lessons scheduled for every night this coming week. But, I could have fun for a while. And, as I keep hearing, fun is good.

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