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I Get Up to Noh Good

Back from hiatus (well, if three days counts as a hiatus) since all my in-class presentations and the "first semester" exam is over and done with (results still pending). Now we get a 3.5 day break, 1.5 days of which are already over...where does all the time go?! Regardless, today I did a variety of interesting cultural things.

Even thought it was a break day, I woke up at the same time I usually do and caught the same bus I usually do, but instead of getting off at Rifare I got off at a stop called Minamicho to visit Oyama Jinja, a large and popular shinto shrine in the downtown Kanazawa area.




The large benefit of being there at 8:45 in the morning was that there was essentially no one there. A shrine maiden was sweeping the stone pathway, a priest was kneeling inside the temple, and someone was praying at one of the shrines inside the complex, but in general all was quiet. I drew an omikuji (fortune telling) from the main shrine and got good fortune! And a small charm with the character for happiness on it that I (think) am supposed to carry around with me?

Then I walked to Rifare and just hung about until 12:15 when I took a bus with three other PII students to Kanazawa University, where I was getting to visit a class on French history. Expecting a large lecture, the other student and I were surprised to walk in and find that it was a seminar class; even more surprised to realize that there were only three other students in it.



The class was conducted in a mix of Japanese and French, most of both of which I understood. He handed us a copy from the French history book they were using and I'm relieved to say I still understood pretty much all of it. Speaking on the other hand...whooosh that's all gone.

The other student (Arlia) and I took a bus back to the Kenrokuen area, and since we had time we went into the Kanzawa Noh Museum since it was free with our cultural passes. There, we got to try on traditional noh garb (i.e. a kimono) and masks.




The mask is essentially impossible to see in...you're allowed one tiny pin of light to see through. And the kimono is heavy and constricting. The fact that noh actors are able to move confidently and with grace impresses me to no end...

And tomorrow there will be more exciting things I'm sure...

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