The Rakugo(落語) Experience

Rakugo(落語) , literally mean fallen words. It’s a Japanese style of storytelling.

When a dear friend invited me to her friend’s Rakugo , I was very happy. The price was also discounted, later found out that the seats assigned to us where the one which are normally does not sell, the farthest corner of the hall.

The artist was Katsura, Shunchou and it was his 20th Anniversary as a story teller. I thought that maybe it will last for only an hour or so, but it lasted more than 4 hours and during that period, I laughed , cried and was moved by the emotion he put into the story telling.

The second part of storytelling was about a letter or lyrics that a father once wrote and was found by his son after his death. Instead of just reading it, Katsura-san decided to sing it for us.

The title : 手紙~親愛なる子供たちへ(A Letter – A Parents Love for a Child).

There are lots of emotional part of the lyrics but my dear friend who is a parent could not hold it any longer and was sniffing and sobbing beside me.

During the part where it says: ” When I could no longer stand up or tie my shoes.. please Lend me your hand.” The tears just decided to come out and would not stop.

By the end of the song, my friend and I were a mess.

The third story was about Ertuğrul Fırkateyni, a Turkish ship which was caught by a storm at the coast of Wakayama Prefecture around 1890 . The boat sank but 69 survivors where rescued and nurse back to health by the resident of the island. The 69 sailors were safely returned to Turkey and vowed that this kindness will never be forgotten.

This promised was fulfilled during the Iran Crisis in 1985, when 200 Japanese were rescued by Turkey and was safely brought back home.

I don’t know why, but this story made me cry. I guess I was so moved by a 100 year-old promise that was kept.

To be moved liked this, Katsura-san is a really good story teller. I guess you will not stay in this business for 20 years if you don’t have talent.

It was definitely a nice afternoon spent with friends and tears :).

Have you ever been to a Rakugo? How was it?

Categories: Life In Japan | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hotel Review : Kokuminshukusha Hotel Shirahama (国民宿舎ホテル白浜)

One of the main reason we keep canceling our Shirahama trip (Wakayama) is because of accommodation.

Since it was 3-day weekend , everybody was going ( it seems ) to Shirahama . Shirahama is also famous for its Onsen so may it summer or winter this place is always packed on long weekends.

T and I got lucky and was able to book at this hotel.

The building is old and our room was also old. Not that well-maintained. We do have our own toilet and there is a common bath with Onsen in the basement of the hotel.

Our futon has is also old and even the sheets have holes in them, clean but old.

It’s not noise proof so we can hear anybody flushing in their toilet in the middle of the night.

There is though a free massage chair in the common area and breakfast was good.

The staff ? Most of them are old folks so we barely see them other than breakfast. The main person in the reception desk , we saw him on the day we arrived only.

It’s one of the cheapest place we found and convenient. It’s only about 5 minutes walk to the beach and a minute walk to the restaurant and bus stop, bank and convenience store.

All in all it was good stay, but if I go back there on a budget trip I will probably stay here again. :)

Categories: Life In Japan | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hiking through Mt. Jubu

Early autumn Mr.R organized another fun hike from Ujitawara going through Mt. Jubu all the way to Kasagi. Well that was the plan, let’s find out if we made it all the way to Kasagi.

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Approaching the entrance to the mountain through this little temple.

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The name. Can you read it? Sorry I can’t.

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On our way to the summit of Mt. Jubu.

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The back of the “Golden Fetus Temple” based on our literal translation of the Kanji.

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A small pagoda, with Miss K :)

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These two were supposed to be my temple models. Can’t seem to get a good shot of them.

A few minutes later we got to the summit had our lunch and short rest.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GbmcONnisEU Here is a short video taken by Mr.RB (outdoorholic) of Mt. Jubu’s summit

After lunch it was decided that we will take the “interesting” way down to the mountain. It was an exhilarating experience that made my knees weak and shaking.

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We ended up at the end of the trail and all I could see is this boulder of rock. Mr.R told us that the waterfall is just below this cliff but I could not find a way down until he pointed this ..

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This is the way down. As soon as I saw this, my first thought was “I’m too young to die.” Okay, I’m exaggerating but I was scared to hell but it do our turn around alone.

I could not take some decent picture of our decent as my hand were busy grabbing the roots and rock and holding out for my dear life :) but as soon as I reach a more safer area, I was able to get a shaky picture of these two , having fun. Boys :)

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As soon as we reach the bottom , Mr. R lead us to this boulders of rocks and we are supposed to pass through it. Don’t worry I did not have any problem passing through it :)
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Of course Mr. R was there to lend a helping hand so nothing to worry about.

We finally reached the “Thousand Hands Waterfall”.

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At this point my knees were like jelly, I was really surprised I did not fall on my face. It took a lot of control and concentration to command each part of my body not to give up on me.

A little later, we reach Tea Planet again :)

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So the question now, did we reach Kasagi? Well, the 3 girls did not through walking but by train.

After we reached foot of the mountain, S had a big blister, P had to go back to Osaka for some other appointment. So the group decided to just walk to the bus stop passing through the tea plantation and catch the bus to Kamo Station.

On our way we took a short detour and admire this very old tree.

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Sorry I forgot the name of the tree or how old it was.

When we reach Kamo Station , the boys decided to call it a day and us girls decided to travel all the way to Kasagi and enjoy the onsen.

All in all, it was a really great adventurous day. Going back if we decided which route to take again, I definitely will still choose the route we took. Of course, it will depend upon the group but with this group, definitely.

Thank you guys for a great day and to Mr. R for organizing and help. :)

Till the next adventure.

Categories: Life In Japan, Temples | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Late Summer Escapade in Shirahama

Every time T and I planned a trip to Shirahama we always end up somewhere else. Last October since it was still hot we decided to finally head to Shirahama no matter what.

Yes NO MATTER WHAT, because the weekend that we are schedule to go there was a big typhoon scheduled to arrived in Japan too. A big one.

Fortunately the gods smiled on us, the typhoon was delayed so T and I were able to enjoy our weekend at the beautiful Shirahama.

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No typhoon yet. Enjoying the lazy afternoon at the beach.

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Panoramic View of Shirahama. No crowd. We have to beach to ourselves.

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ahhh… Sands on my feet.

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A family watching the waves crash to the shore.

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A bit grainy but night view of Shirahama.

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The coastline of Shirahama.

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A lady from the Nihonshu shop directed us to a free Foot Onsen where we can enjoy the view of this Rock Formation with a hole in the middle.

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Some interesting Rock formation and of course the visitors decided the carve their name into it.

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Love the sound of the waves.

I was really worried about the typhoon but it turned out to be a lovely weekend with a perfect weather.

Categories: Landscape, Life In Japan, Travel | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Book Review : Descartes Highland

Description:

Two men, each unaware of the other, share a common family secret: they were sold for adoption by their American father shortly after their births in the Philippines. Three alternating stories interweave the experiences of father Andrew Breszky and the two sons who try to connect and piece together the puzzle of their reckless, impulsive father. One lives in New York and the other grows up in the south of France, later traveling all over Asia as a documentary filmmaker. Both will discover that their relationships somehow echo that of the young man whose history eludes them.
Celebrated Filipino writer Eric Gamalinda’s international debut novel is a contemporary work of ideas that combines mystery, film noir, and existential philosophy. Highly intricate and written in a style reminiscent of the maverick narrative techniques of such filmmakers as Andrei Tarkovsky and Béla Tarr, and with some of the philosophical underpinnings of Michel Houellebecq or Javier Marías. Named after the region of the moon where Apollo 16 landed in the same year these men were born, The Descartes Highlands demonstrates that for lives marked by unrelieved loneliness, the only hope lies in the redemptive power of love.

Back in High School days, I got addicted to local(Philippines) novels mostly written in Tagalog. The stories mostly revolve around forbidden love, Cinderella type stories and lots of drama. English novels were
hard to find and a bit expensive for a student like me.

Although it’s been awhile since I read this pocketbooks, I’m always in a look out for a Filipino writer who deviates from this genre so when Amy Tan recommended this book from Eric Gamalinda, I instantly got a copy.

The book is definitely an intereting read. It switches from present time to early 1970’s in the Philippines and narrates what happens to each character in their period. It explores the era in the Philippines during the Martial Law where everyone is trying to find a way to escape or survive the regime.

What I like about this book is that nothing is sugar coated when it talks about the Philippines. This was/is the lives of some Filipinos. Reading it made me realize what my country has become this past 40 years.

The corruption in the government is still rampant though but slowly being exposed. The ruling politicians that were the same people involve in the Martial Law are still ruling the country.The bad things that he mentioned are ( I think ) still exists especially in the big cities.

I want to say more smart things about the book, but I think it’s much better if you just read it, I can assure you you will not be disappointed.

 

Categories: Books | Tags: | Leave a comment

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