I’ve been sitting on some pictures from Aomori that I never posted.
Aomori is the northern-most prefecture on Honshu. It is the site of neputa matsuri (festival), which I have never seen, and beautiful natural sights. The Aomori Prefectural Government has a English language websight that highlights the sightseeing locations in Aomori. We didn’t have much time so spent our time in hot springs and around Hirosaki city.
Here are some pictures I have to share.
This picture was taken in one of the museums in Aomori, I forgot the name of the museum, but it was close to Hirosaki castle! The museum showcased the various cultural interests of Aomori including the Tsugaru Syamisen (In Japanese it’s pronounced tsugaru-jyamisen) shown above. It is like the traditional Japanese syamisen, but larger, and the playing style involves a strong striking of the strings that continues on to then strike the base of the instrument, giving a sharp percussion sound. It’s really intense.
Check this out. YouTube video of Jongara Nakabushi played by Kevin Kmetz. Go man go! Also be sure to check out the Yoshida brothers on Youtube as well.
I blogged before about a Tsugaru Shamisen player in Hyogo-ken, and it turns out his picture was posted in this museum as one fo the great Tsugaru Shamisen players of Aomori. It’s a mall Tsugaru-world.
I would have to say that next to Taiko drumming, Tsugaru Shamisen music is my favorite type of Japanese traditional music. What say you to that?
Of course, what is a trip in Japan without food right? I don’t remember what fish this was…
But it was tasty.
This one is very famous in… Akita… (which is very close to Aomori mind you), and is called kiritanpo (きりたんぽ). There is a wikipedia entry on kiritanpo available in Japanese.
One more thing about Aomori that I must mention. They say people in Aomori speak ZuuZuu-dilect (ずうずう弁). This dialect is fast, muffled, and uses words quite different than the “standard” Japanese spoken in Tokyo.
Being the language lover that I am, I made it a point to spend some time talking to locals so that I could hear this dialect. I remember being amazed when I asked a older man working on clean up outside of a convenience store on the highway how to get somewhere. I think I literally could only catch about 30% of what he was saying. It was great.
People say that the reason they speak in that manner up in Aomori is because it’s so cold, that they don’t want to open their mouths very far, which forces them to speak in a muffled tone. I think that explaination is total malarky, but hey, it’s a theory.