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Published: October 23rd 2005
The same weekend of the Undokai I went to the inaka to watch a traditional dance called Kagura. The next day Lisa and I went on an excursion to a small town called Iwakuni. Kagura is a traditional local dance/performance. The performers wear elaborate kimonos and different masks. Each performance tells a story and is accompanied by traditional music. It was all in Japanese yet the stories are pretty straightforward through the dancing so it was easy for us to follow. I am not exactly sure where the dancing all originated. Since it is so localized there is not much stuff about it on the internet. There was a huge Kagura exhibition in a town called Chiyoda. There were 10 of us and we rented 2 tatami areas to sit in. They do not have seats. You sit/lie on tatami, drink a few beers, eat some tako yaki, and enjoy the Kagura. There are different Kagura troops all over the Inaka. They each performed for about an hour. As the night carried on (it started at noon and went to midnight, we left at 8ish) they start to bring out different costumes, like foxes and big dragons. After seeing Kagura
I am determined that "The Ring," which was originally a Japanese movie, is derived from kagura. All the demons have these huge wigs that cover the faces of the demons, similar to the scary girl in "The Ring." We were clearly the only gaijin at the exhibition. We kind of stood out a little bit. I was very impressed with the Kagura, I just might have nightmares of the demons.
The next day Lisa and I went on a trip to a small town called Iwakuni. It is located in eastern Yamaguchi Ken so it is very close to us. There is this huge bridge there called the Kintai Kyo. The original bridge was made only out of wood with no metal. Since the original construction the bridge has been washed away twice from typhoons and now is made with wood AND metal. across the bridge there is a cute little samura quarter. There is a museum and a gallery with albino snakes. Quote of the day "Casey: Lisa, how do you say samurai in Japanese? Lisa: Sa-mu-rai." Yes I know I am a dork and was not thinking! After strolling around the quarters and looking at the shrines
Here is the crew of people I went with to see Kagura. They gave us those cool bandanas to wear as well. I was quite a big fan of the bandanas
and old buildings we took the ropeway up to the castle on the hill. I absolutely love castles!! It could not have been a clearer day. It was absolutely beautiful and we could see far out into the Inland Sea. It was not as humid as it had been....winter was on its way! It was a lovely afternoon trip. We got Indian food for dinner which was an extra special treat. Everytime we go to the city I want to try new restaurants, yet I am constantly drawn to Spicy Bar Lal's because I need to satisfy my Indian food obsession. I can't get my naan and curry from telegraph and I am very sad, but Bar Lal's is doing an okay job.
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