February Kabuki at Hakata-za(Theatre) in Fukuoka !

1Kabuki is a traditional Japanese Theatre play from the Edo Period(1603-1867) and recognized as one of Japan’s three major classical theaters and UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage along with ‘noh’ and ‘bunraku’.
For more detail about Kabuki please refer the link http://www2.ntj.jac.go.jp/unesco/kabuki/en/

Free program & tickets

Free program & tickets

Program in English

Program in English

In Fukuoka, Kabuki performance is held only 2 times a year, February and June and the program this time is very interesting one, [Date no Juyaku] ! In this program, one leading actor, Somegoro Ichikawa the 7th will play 10 roles, males and females, bad guys and good guys(ladies) !!

Here he is! Mr Somegoro Ichikawa, the 7th without Kabuki makeup!

Here he is! Mr Somegoro Ichikawa, the 7th without Kabuki makeup!

How does he do that ? Let me see,,,

Unfortunately photos and video shooting is not allowed during a performance, so I can’t show how they were, but believe me, it was incredible and amazing indeed!
In fact, I could not work out how he change one role to the other in seconds ! It was bit like Kabuki with a magic!

These 10 roles are performed by 1 actor, Somegoro Ichikawa! Can you believe they are same person?

These 10 roles are performed by 1 actor, Somegoro Ichikawa! Can you believe they are same person?

Japan Travel Centre

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Setsubun – the day before the beginning of spring in Japan

Today, the 3rd of February is Setsubun, the traditional last day of winter.

From the end of the Edo period, people come to expel their bad luck and many Shrines & Temples host the Setsubun Festival all over Japan.
At Fukuoka, you can join the Event at Kushida Shrine and Tocho Temple.

1At Kushida Shrine, going through Japan’s largest Otafuku face (smiling face of a woman) installed on the shrine gate, you will see not only people throwing beans but also dancing devils and monsters paying visit to the shrine!
Adults as well as kids can enjoy the festive mood of the shrine, trying a lottery and nibbling on stall foods.

2Just a 3 to 5 minute walk from Kushida Shrine, at Tocho Temple, special stages for the Setsubun Festival are built in front of the main hall and the Seven Deities of Good Luck and Otafuku will dance around throwing dried or roasted soybeans and shouting “Fuku-wa-uchi, Oni-wa-Soto (Good Luck In, Evil Spirits Out).
Some throw not only soybeans but also peanuts, chocolates, candies, rice cakes, and even fruit!

4Today, Kabuki Stars who are performing Kabuki at Hakata-za from 4-26 February, join the event by throwing soybeans to the visitors !

top_grouptour_02By Japan Travel Centre

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‘Mizutaki’ & ‘Motsu Nabe(hot pot)’ are “Star” dishes in cold Winter

“STAR” dishes in cold Winter in Fukuoka !! Which ‘Nabe’(hot pot) is your favourite ?

1 Mizutaki is a Nabe featuring chunks of chicken on the bone and seasonal vegetables and mushrooms, all boiled in a hot pot then dipped in ‘ponzu’ (a tangy soy and vinegar sauce)

It is invented in Fukuoka in the late Meiji Era (late 1890’s – early 1900’s).

Chicken as a main ingredient, it must be fresh and good quality.

It is no problem to find perfect chickens for Mizutaki as there are well-known free-ranged chicken breeders in Fukuoka.

2As for the traditional way of enjoy Mizutaki, only the soup from the Nabe will be served with finely chopped green leeks and a pinch of salt at first. Then, you can enjoy the tendered chicken and other stuff with ‘ponzu’.

There are always “shime”(a way to complete ) for all Nabe dishes.

For ‘Mizutaki’, some like to put Udon noodles into the Nabe after eating all chickens and vegetables.

Others prefer to put rice and egg into the deliciously concentrated soup with finely chopped green leeks and flake of seaweeds as toppings.

 

Motsu Nabe(hot pot)

 3As “Motsu” means “innards” (excluding the liver), usually from a cow, it doesn’t sound/look encouraging to eat at first, but “Motsu” is a nutritious food containing lots of vitamins as well as collagen and make very tasty broth.

The recipe itself is quite simple. Chinese chives, cabbage are piled on top of the “Motsu” along with hot peppers, then boiled in a miso or soy sauce based soup with plenty of garlic for flavor.

For ‘shime’, Champon noodles, which are made of flours and slightly thicker than spaghetti, are common for Motsu Nabe. The noodle absorbed the well-concentrated soup are incredibly delicious!

The each “Motsu Nabe” restaurant has their own soup recipe, so you can enjoy different taste at each restaurant.

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The both Nabe dishes are served in various places throughout Fukuoka City.

They are heartwarming dishes especially in cold Winter !

 Read more about Japanese Foods

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New Year’s event in Japan – Tamaseseri

1The one of the New Year’s event, ‘Tamaseseri’ took place at Hakozaki Shrine today, the 3rd January.

As it is good weather, lots of visitors are queuing to pray, at least 30 mins. waiting!

The two sacred wooden balls displayed in proper manner.

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The event start with the local Firemen’s drum performance.

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It is a good weather, but still hard to be almost naked in Winter temperatures, especially for kids!

The first part of the fighting to catch the ball by children.The adults fighters take over at the halfway.

The end of the event at the small window’s of the God’s place. Lots of policemen and cameramen as well!

Please refer the link below about this event.
http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/spot/festival/tamaseseri.html

Japan Travel Centre

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Hatsumode – the Year’s first visit to a shrine

A Happy New Year!

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‘Hatsumode’(the Year’s first visit to a shrine) is common for all generations in Japan to wish a good year, so there is a long queuing at major shrines. Here is the one of them in Fukuoka city, Miyajitake Shrine which famous for the 2nd big gest ‘shine-nawa'(the sacred rope, the mark of God’s place’).

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Well, actually it wasn’t too bad as just about 10 mins. queuing to pray in front of the God’s place. I wished all of you a happy year with ‘osaisen'(money offering) of 100 yen! Should I offered bit more ?!

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Japanese Culture – “Osechi”

111‘Osechi’, specially boxed traditional Japanese New Year’s foods is ttraditionally prepared at each home by housewives on New Year’s Eve as a celebration meals for New Year’s holiday( the 1st – 3rd January).

New Year’s Day is the most important day for Japanese people, with its roots in the Shinto religion and time for Family gathering just like Christmas in UK.

The foods in ‘Osechi’ are cooked in the way to last 3 days or more, so that housewives did not have to spend a lot of time for cooking for all family during New Year’s holiday.

222333However the preparation of ‘Osechi’ is quite time consuming, so the ready-made ‘Osechi’ is getting popular every year.

There are so many sizes, selections to choose from reasonable one to luxurious one prepared by 1st class chef or popular restaurant, traditional Japanese style, Western or Chinese style, for single person, for family of 8 and so on.

All department stores and super market stores make brochures for ‘Osechi’ and display the replicas in the photos to encourage the customer for purchase.

It is really fun just to look these replicas as they look so delicious !!!

Japan Travel Centre

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November Sunshine at Okinawa

Visited Onna Village, Okinawa in November. Onna is located in the central part of Okinawa Island.

IMG_1231IMG_1262You can still swim in November!

IMG_1254IMG_1274Visit Ishigaki Island http://www.japantravel.co.uk/japan-holidays/optional-tours/tours/139-ishigaki-island-4days.html

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