Sunday, June 22, 2008
Shishi Odori (Deer Dance)
My Ichinoseki hosts for the home stay, Yasushi and Aiko Atsumi.
Fujiwara Heritage Park
My Japanese hosts, Aiko and Yasushi Atsumi, picked me up Saturday morning and we spent the afternoon at the Esashi Fujiwara Heritage Park, a historical park that reproduces through architecture the history and culture of Japan's Tohoku region. The interiors of the buildings are equipped with replicas of the household effects of the historical time of the Heian Period (794-1185). The rooms had clothing (armor and kimonos) to try on and objects to try out (bows and arrows, spears, toys).
While we were there, we were fortunate to witness the Shishi Odori or Deer Dance, performed by high school students, both girls and boys. I was struck by how similar the costumes and dance were to the Native Americans of New Mexico. In fact, the land and climate here is very like that of New Mexico.
Afterwards we went back to their home to pick up Aiko’s mother, Hideko, and went to dinner at a revolving sushi restaurant that looked much like a diner. Different small dishes revolve around the top of the counter and you take the ones you want. It was fun and I got to try a lot of different things, including something like a savory egg custard.
After dinner, we went back to their home. Since they had an internet connection, I was able to call Bill on Skype so he could see them and meet them online. A friend and her son then came over and taught me some origami techniques. I was honored to sleep that night on a futon in their beautiful, traditional tatami room.