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Fua's Asian trip An Exciting Stroll Through a Shopping Arcade Fukuoka Hakata-ku Kawabata Shotengai (Shopping Arcade) Hi, long time no see! This is Fua.  There are many retro businesses like Buddhist goods, textile, washi (Japanese paper), and signature stamp shops in Kawabata Shotengai (Shopping Arcade), which links Canal City Hakata and Hakata Riverain. Look! An elderly shop owner just dozed off in the back of the store! I felt like I had wandered into the Showa Era (1930's – 80's). Let's take a walk through the arcade, which really gives you a feel for commercial  Hakata.  1Kushida Shrine Well known as Okushida-san by the local people in Hakata, Kushida Shrine is also famous for being the starting point of Hakata Gion Yamakasa (a float race). A huge decorative float is displayed here year-round. Whenever you come, you can experience the atmosphere of Yamakasa. When I tried my hand at drawing a fortune slip, I found versions in English, Korean and Chinese as well as Japanese. There were a lot of visitors from abroad.  2Kawabata Shotengai(Shopping Arcade) Old shopping arcades are associated with steel shutters (because all of the shops tend to be shut down due to the continuing recession). But Kawabata Shopping Arcade obliterates that image, offering you plenty of excitement just by walking along the street. You'll find many old-established shops (like the embroidery shop displaying caps with Niwakamen [a logo of a famous Hakata cracker brand], a hardware store featuring a giant tawashi [a kind of traditional scrubbing brush] and delicious eateries including a bakery that exudes the wonderful smell of freshly baked bread, izakayas (a Japanese traditional restaurant and bar), ramen shops, and more. The gossip of regular patrons is what gives this street its life! Every shopping arcade should be so lively!

 3Reizenso Reizenso is an old apartment that was built in 1958 just behind Kawabata Shopping Arcade. It seemed like a normal residential building, but inside you'll find a bagel shop, galleries, a Korean language school, and even a ping-pong centre! People make use of this old Hakata building to convey a variety of information. It has a very energetic atmosphere, and you'll definitely feel inspired once you visit!  4Matchmaking Baby This baby is found in front of the Buddhist goods shop Hasegawa (Fukuoka main branch), where you can also draw a fortune slip for free. Young girls draw their fortune slips in turns and tie them around the baby.   The sculptor who created this baby is Mr. Satoshi Yabuuchi, the same person who created Nara City's mascot, Sento-kun, for its 1300th ancient capital anniversary. No wonder their plump face are quite alike.   There are three kinds of fortune slips that foretell your fate in luck, love, and school. Which have I drawn? Love, of course! And what's my destiny, you ask? I'll keep that a secret!   5Cafe Artlier Passing through the Kawabata Shopping Arcade, I arrived at Artlier on the second basement level of Hakata Riverain. During lunch time, it is crowded with people coming to eat pasta, but during teatime, the mood is much slower. You can come alone have a nice quiet read or daydream to kill some time.   Check out the Information Corner, stocked with free magazines and information about exhibitions, concerts, and theatres.   Café Artlier is a hidden jem waiting to  be discovered and stir your artistic senses.

A Leisurely Trip through time Fukuoka's connection with the rest of Asia is not at all recent. In fact, Fukuokans have had contact with their Asian neighbors since ancient times. Walking through the city, you will come across places reminiscent of these historical ties. This column features an introduction to several such places. Why not take a trip back through time on your next stroll in Fukuoka?  Chapter Three  Hirao-Sanso - Botoni Nomura, Shelterer of Meiji Restoration Loyalists Earlier this year, Japan Broadcasting Corp. released a made-for-TV mini-historica-drama-series entitled  Ryoma-den (The Legend of Ryoma). All of the young men portrayed in the series are actual historical figures that lived at the end of the Edo Era (1603-1868), including Ryoma Sakamoto and Shintaro Nakaoka. Hirao Sanso lodge remains one of the few places in Fukuoka that still speaks to that era. Located in the residential area of Hirao, the lodge was the only dwelling in the area at that time, and was inhabited by a woman named Botoni Nomura. Born in 1806, Botoni lived an extraordinary life. She divorced just half a year after her first marriage when she was 17 years old. She remarried a samurai named Shinzaburo Sadatsura Nomura  at the age of 24.   She gave birth to four girls, all of whom sadly passed away at early ages. Of the stepchildren from Shinzaburo's previous marriage, one committed suicide while the others also died.    When she was 27, Botoni persuaded her husband to become the apprentice of famed waka (a genre of classical Japanese poetry) poet Kotomichi Okuma in order to learn how to compose waka. When she turned 40, she gave her home to her son and, together with her husband, built a lodge (Hirao Sanso) on a mountain to which the two retreated. They began a life dedicated to the composition of poetry under Kotomichi's instruction. During these years, they wrote a collection of waka poems called Koryoshu, which skillfully depicted the grace of nature and family issues. Years later, Botoni's beloved husband passed away, and she became a nun. After her husband's death, Botoni visited Kyoto, where she met restoration movement leaders there. She sympathized with their efforts and allowed them to use Hirao Sanso as their secret meeting place. One of the loyalists who hid in her home was Shinsaku Takasugi.

A Leisurely Trip through time Fukuoka's connection with the rest of Asia is not at all recent. In fact, Fukuokans have had contact with their Asian neighbors since ancient times. Walking through the city, you will come across places reminiscent of these historical ties. This column features an introduction to several such places. Why not take a trip back through time on your next stroll in Fukuoka?  Chapter Three  Hirao-Sanso - Botoni Nomura, Shelterer of Meiji Restoration Loyalists Shinsaku was a significant contributor to the anti-Tokugawa government movement. In 1864, the Tokugawa Shogunate led a punitive military expedition into the Choshu Domain (present-day Yamaguchi Prefecture). The domain was divided into conservative forces and anti-Tokugawa forces. In order to evade the danger, Shinsaku (a member of the anti-Tokugawa forces), took shelter at Hirao Sanso for ten days.  Eventually, Botoni came to be suspected by the Kuroda Domain (present-day Chikuzen region of Fukuoka Prefecture) and was detained on Himeshima Island, where she was kept in a rat-infested prison cell. The next year, Shinsaku freed her from jail and took her to Choshu. However, he died of tuberculosis at the age of just 29, never getting to see the Satsuma-Choshu Alliance or fulfill his destiny. Botoni must have been heartbroken over Shinsaku's fate; she passed away later that year at the age of 62.  Several years before his death, Shinsaku was ordered by the domain to go to Shanghai from Nagasaki as an attache of a Tokugawa diplomat. Once there, he witnessed the colonisation of China by Western powers, which had a profound impact on him.  Seeing many other Asian countries being colonised, young men living at the end of the Edo Era 150 years ago made an effort to prevent Japan from colonising. Hirao Sanso lodge retains traces of this loyalist past and the maternal kindness of Botoni herself.   Reference: Leaflet of Hirao Sanso (Fukuoka City Board of Education)  Location Location: Hirao 5-2-28,  Chuo-ku Fukuoka Open the map

ASIANTOPICS Ajibi (Fukuoka Asian Art Museum) Exhibition Report Volume Two   Just three hours away from Fukuoka by high-speed ferry, you can travel overseas to Busan as easily as you can take a trip within Japan! Fukuoka Asian Art Museum (FAAM) and Busan Museum of Art (BMA) signed a cooperative agreement in November 2008, loaning out their collections to each other. Last year, BMA displayed FAAM collections, and this year, FAAM will display 76 selected works of art from BMA. In this report, we'll introduce this special exhibit.   Busan Museum of Art Collection Exhibit Korean Modern Art Wave Showing: September 18th (Sat) – November 3rd (Wed) 2010 Venue: 7F Exhibition Gallery   A panoramic photograph of Busan sits in the lobby. If you have been to Busan, this must be a déjà vu! This is a picture, Busan, perfectly depicts a cosmopolitan city. It was taken by photographer Se-kweon Ahn at Long Du San Park and portrays the view of the terminal where ships from Hakata Port unload. It really gave me the feeling that I had arrived in Busan and made me eager to see the rest of the exhibit!  The first part of the exhibit is comprised of views of the city and harbour. Zongsik Kim's work Jagalchi Ice Manufacturer portrays the scene at Jagalchi Market (one of the most important tourist spots in Busan today) in 1953. The outdoor market buzzes with fish merchants, whom can still be found in the area today. Seeing what the market looked like in the past gave me a sense of familiarity with it.  If you look carefully at Jeong-ah Bang's People Affected with Deficiencies, you'll appreciate how interesting it is. The picture strikes a contrast between the weeds growing out naturally from cracks in the concrete and the contradictions of people living in Korea, such as the person exercising as if to symbolize the momchang (meaning perfect body in Korean) boom, or the person singing karaoke. It made me think about the contradictions in my own life.  Editor s notes With so many works by Korean artists, you may forget that you're in a Japanese art museum. When you see a piece of artwork, you can get a sense of the atmosphere in that country and era.  Don't hesitate to take a trip to Busan at Fukuoka Asian Art Museum this Fall!  Fukuoka Asian Art Museum (Link to the official website) Korean Waves ―Modern and Contemporary Art Admission Fees: General – 500 Yen; High School Students - 300 Yen; Junior High School Students or Younger – Free Open: 10am – 8pm (Latest Admission: 7:30pm) Closed: Every Wednesday  Open the map

ASIANTOPICS Going on Now: A Must-See Event for Korean Soap Opera Fans!  This exhibit features the works of Yeong-cheol Hwang (a top Korean soap opera photographer) and FunnyPD (an artist who designs about half of the posters for Korean soap operas every year). If you're a fan of Korean soap operas, this is your chance to see photos of your favorite Korean actors and actresses! Don't miss it!  Together With Your Heart (Photo Exhibition of Korean Soap Opera Photographer Yeong-cheol Hwang)   Oct 7th (Thur) – 24th (Sun) Fukuoka Asian Art Museum 7F Sculpture Lounge Free Admissions  Yeong-cheol Hwang has taken photographs for popular Korean soap operas such as Princess Hours, Lovers in Prague, and I'm Sorry, I Love You (all of which are also well-known in Japan). He created a new field called Soap Opera Photography by adding design elements to traditional Drama Stills, which have been used strictly as a mean of advertising. The exhibition will display around 50 of Hwang's published and unpublished works, all snapshots of popular Korean actors/actresses during their shoots.  FunnyPD Korean Soap Opera Poster Exhibition Oct 28th (Thur) – Nov 3rd (National Holiday) Fukuoka Asian Art Museum 7F Sculpture  Lounge Free Admissions   FunnyPD (Yoon Jonfug) designs posters for more than half of all Korean soap operas (nearly 50 per year). His notable works include posters for Dae Jang Geum, Hotelier, and My Girlfriend is a Nine-Tailed Fox. The exhibition will display 50 of his works from his portfolio of about 120 works.   The posters sum up moving moments of each soap opera, most of which have been broadcast in Japan. It's your chance to review revisit your favourite Korean stars and drama posters. Moreover, this exhibition is the very first exhibit for FunnyPD in Korean or Japan!

ASIAN TAKARABAKO Asian Treasure Asian Cuisine Journey: Vol. 2  Chusei Hakata Udon (Medieval Hakata Noodles) Did you know that Fukuoka is actually the birthplace of udon (wheat noodles)?  At Jotenji Temple in Hakata, you can see a monument inscribed with the words, The Birthplace of Udon. How did Fukuoka come to be the birthplace of udon? The story udon's origin can be traced back to the Kamakura Era. Shoichikokushi Enni, a Rinzai-sect Buddhist monk born in Suruga (Shizuoka Prefecture), came to Hakata in preparation for his journey to China. Upon his return, he brought back a copy of Daisoshozannozu, which was a manual for temple construction that, in the last chapter, details instructions for building waterwheels. Before the appearance of Daisoshozannozu, flour milling technology in Japan was underdeveloped, meaning that wheat flour had only been eaten by nobility. Shoichikokushi enabled the mass production of wheat flour by bringing back and adapting the waterwheel technology. I imagine that 'udon' came to be when someone made a long, noodle-like food using the flour milled by the waterwheel on the Mikasa River, says the former chairman of the Fukuoka Noodle Commerce and Industry Cooperative Association, Teruo Tsuchiya, who established a restaurant at the front of Shotenji temple.   The taste of the handmade medieval Hakata udon served at his restaurant took Mr. Tsuchiya 12 years to develop! I think people living during the Kamakura Era made udon from flour that included the wheat husk, so I leave the husks on and also use wheat germ when making our udon, explains Mr. Tsuchiya. Wheat husks contain dietary fiber, making this udon especially healthy. The udon was beige-colored and a little bit thicker than regular udon. It tasted simple, sticky, and chewy.

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