Monday, June 20, 2011

Sendai's Suzume Odori

Float from last year's Aoba Matsuri in Sendai, carrying some Heian Period princesses and musicians.
Every spring there's a big festival in Sendai called the Aoba Matsuri. The streets downtown are blocked off for parades with floats and lots of costumed dancers. Sendai actually has its own dance, the Suzume Odori or Sparrow Dance. Despite the fact that sparrows are brown and gray, the performers wear very bright and festive costumes and dance with two equally flashy fans. Suzume Odori is really fun to watch, as it involves lots of jumps and spins.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Day Trip: Matsushima

One of the most popular day trips from Sendai is to the small, coastal town of Matsushima. It's about a 30 minute train ride out of Sendai and quite inexpensive to visit. The main reason for its popularity is because it's considered one of the "Nihon Sankei", or the "Three Most Scenic Places in Japan." Matsushima Bay is full of hundreds of tiny islands, whose trees and rocky bases have been twisted into interesting shapes by the wind and waves.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Asian Drama: Top 5 Recs

For those who aren't familiar with Asian entertainment, the word "drama" is used a little differently over here than it is in most Western countries. Drama isn't so much a genre as it is just any TV show with a storyline, usually fictional but sometimes based on a true story. It includes a variety of genres, such as comedy, romance, family and "drama".

Asian story-telling is quite different than Western, so watching drama can be a bit of a culture shock at first. But it is a great way to practice your listening skills and learn about Asian culture, history, etc. (But please remember to take everything with a grain of salt!!) Before coming to Japan, I tried my hardest to immerse myself in Japanese, and one of the more fun ways of doing that was watching a lot of drama.

Here are my top 5 dramas! Clicking on the link will take you to a site where you can watch it online with English subtitles. 

Friday, June 3, 2011

Day Trip: Miyagi coast and Shiroishi Castle

Back in February, some friends and I rented a car and spent the day driving around doing fun stuff. We visited the coastal town Watari, played on the beach, went to a strawberry farm and visited Shiroishi Castle. This was all before the earthquake happened and I never got around to posting about our trip after that. But better late than never, right? 

Our first stop was a hot spring hotel next to the beach, where we had amazing seafood for lunch. Mine was crab fried rice, with miso soup and pickles.