As mentioned in my Wakadaisho museum article, I was also in Japan for about a week and a half in the earlier half of this month. During that span of time, I managed to visit a few plaques dedicated to kayokyoku, and so I would like to share what I got to see.
|Could only get that one bit of it on camera.|
For the plaque, there was a crank machine beside it that you had to turn 20 times to get background information on it (in Japanese) or Sugi's "Yatate no Sugi". I went for the latter to get the beautiful song reverberating through the forest. There were quite a bit of emotions bubbling around in me when Sugi sang the lines from "Tabibito yo..." to the end of the stanza. I suppose it was because I was actually there and, well, I am a traveler from foreign lands who had made it all the way to Koshu's Sasago Toge, to the tree that Sugi had recommended to visit when one was drained... I was glad to have gone there. Would've loved to hear the whole song there as the second stanza is what I can better relate to, but the machine was on the temperamental side - oh well. The video above shows what it'd be like to be there.
Alright, before I get too sentimental, let's move on to the next area on the itinerary, Amagi in the onsen haven Izu, Shizuoka. Following our stop at Yuzo Kayama's museum, another place that I had recommended, considering we had nothing else planned for the day, was Joren Falls in Amagi, North of Dogashima and on the way back to Yamanashi. We'd spend a few hours at the museum, and it being winter and all, the sun was setting by the time we headed to one of Japan's Top 100 waterfalls. There was a bit of worrying as to whether we'd make it on time to see the other natural landmark at last light, but thankfully we did - barely. People were leaving by the time we got there, but I was bent on getting a close up look at the waterfall and the plaque of one of the most iconic enka songs, Sayuri Ishikawa's (石川さゆり) "Amagi Goe" (天城越え). And so, I trotted all the way down to the plunge pool behind Dad to see it and the wasabi plantations. My brother followed eventually, but Mom, knowing her limits, stayed up on the hill.
Well, there weren't much sentiments there as compared to the Yatate no Sugi, mostly because I was exhausted upon reaching the destination. T'was a pretty waterfall, though, and I'm sure it would've been a more spectacular view if there were more light.
I was satisfied with seeing the plaque and playing that portion of song in my head, but the absolute nightmare was climbing back up the horrendous amount of uneven stairs. My athletic younger brother and Dad, who's still in the midst of an exercise and diet streak, thought it'd be a great idea to race each other to the top. Needless to say, the unhealthy person that I am was left behind. Alone. In the semi-darkness. In the forest. Presumably left for the kappas to feast on. I saw a sign around Amagi. Didn't know what it said but there was a kappa on it, so there must've been one or two skulking around the wasabi. I mean, I know these river yokai like to eat children, but I was still 3 days away from turning 20; a non-picky kappa might not have minded sinking its teeth into something on the tougher side. Eventually, after an arduous climb, I made it up alive with no kappa gnawing at my ankles, albeit on the verge of falling face first into the rocks. Most cardio I'd done in a long, long time.
The last time we were in Ginza was 7 years ago during part of a package tour. Not much of the posh part of Tokyo was explored then as such tours only bring you to tax-free department stores where you'd spend your 2 hour time limit. A then 13 year-old me was more into looking at toys too - I mean, I still kind of do like looking at toys because, come on, TOYS - and as such, the rest of Ginza, save for a tiny fraction of its main street with the recognizable Wako clock tower, was left unexplored. Fast forward to now with a considerably more adventurous spirit that still isn't that all that enamored with shopping (non-grocery/music/book stuff), I was game to see what more Ginza had to offer. After all, I'd been hearing a lot more than just Burberry Blue (I think the label's been changed already) or Mitsukoshi in Mood Kayo songs.
|Ginza, Ginza, Ginza, Tasogare no Ginza~|
|ALL THE YANAGI.|