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Fua's trip to Asia  History course  Akasaka~Jyounai Chuo ward Fukuoka  Leaving Akasaka where office buildings are lined with, I went to the Maizuru park which is popular with the locals as cherry-blossom viewing.  I thought of the days long past at the ruins of Korokan and the Fukuoka castle, going for a stroll in the park where a variety of flowers were blooming.  I saw a migrant bird at a path for walkers along a moat.  Although Akasaka is a kind of hectic area that is located within walking distance of Tenjin, I can always relax whenever I come here.    1.Akasakamon Ichiba (a marketplace)  I found an old-fashioned market in the heart of the city.  Stepping into a narrow dim arcade, I thought I stumbled on to a movie set.  I didn't know that such a nostalgic place still remains in the bustling city.   As there were shuttered shops, a Okonomiyaki shop (thin and flat pancake cooked on a hot plate with bits of meat, seafood, and chopped cabbages) daily- dish shops, and produce shops were open.  A man in a produce shop said, 「I will give you a special service if you buy a turnip.」   The way he talked to me was also an old-fashioned.    2.Exhibition for the Korokan  The exhibition hall for Korokan is located in Maizuru park.  I went to the ruins of  Korokan where an excavation was still going on.  Korokan played a role as a guest house long time ago.  Korokan was used to entertain delegations and merchants from  abroad like a hotel.   When I imagined foreigners from the Chinese Tang Dynasty or the Korean Silla Kingdom strolling around here, I really felt Fukuoka was a special place.  It was here where exchanges between Asian countries took place. I'm not good at history but the exhibition hall gives you a chance to easily understand history.  Admission is free.

  3.Dai Tenshudai This is the best place you can enjoy a great view in the Miazuru park.  The ruins of turret of the castle are an observation deck.   You can see a pond of the Ohori park, the Yahoo dome, and the Fukuoka tower.  The ruins of turret of the castle which is on the stone wall seem like a maze.  I understand it used to be a castle.   It is a common belief that the Fukuoka castle didn't have its castle tower.  But contrary to the belief, documents related to the castle tower were found.  So the Fukuoka castle becomes an argument at the heart of the issue.  Was the lord of Kuroda Clan looking at Fukuoka at the castle tower?  It is mysterious!  4.Kuroda twenty four kizo (the 24 dolls of generals of the Kuroda Clan) Do you know the 24 retainers in Kuroda Clan?  They were faithful retainers who served the lord of the Fukuoka Clan.  It is said that 24 generals especially devoted themselves for the job of retainers were selected among the servants.   24 Hakata dolls of the Kuroda 24 generals are on display in the lobby at the Fukuoka Financial group located at 1-chome, Otemon, Fukuoka.  You can look at them freely.  You can get the name of the generals and profiles one by one.   It is very fun since their looks and wardrobes are elaborately different.  I tried to compare each of them, searching for the best looking.   5.Fukuokajyoato Hori Ishigaki  (Stone wall of the ruins of Fukuoka castle) This is a very rare spot where the locals hardly know.  There is a mysterious door that seems like a doorway at a subway station near a courthouse at the Meiji street.  I went down the steep stairs, my heart racing.  There was an enigmatic space!  Usually a castle was surrounded by a moat that was made out of a stone wall.  The stone wall of the Fukuoka castle still remains.  So if you are interested in the wall, you can visit there on Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.  Staff is on hand  who explain the very curious story about the wall.  If you happen to walk by the site, you're going to see the mysterious spot.  The site gives you a chance to be an explorer.

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 seven Najima Hobashira Ishi (petrified tree stems) Fossils related to the legend of Empress Jingu  Najima Hobashira is located near the Najima Beach by the Najima entrance of Fukuoka Urban Express Route 1. There is a stone monument with the inscriptionin 「Hobashira ishi」 on it.  When you stand before the monument, you can see the Kashii Kamome Ohashi Bridge on the sea.There are 9 stone columns which are about 60cm in diameter on the right side of the beach, being tossed about by the waves.  These stones are called, 「Hobashira ishi.」According to the legend, it is said that masts were left under the seas when the ship with the Empress Jingu on board reached Najima.  Those masts were said to become those stones.  The fact is that these stones were fossils of tree stems called Keikaboku before the Oligocene, 3500 million years ago.  The trees under the ground were affected by silicic acid and became fossils.  They are usually buried in the earth.  In this case, the buried stems might gradually outcrop.   The Hobashira Ishi was designated as a Natural Monument in 1934 (Showa 9).  People of the past linked these stones with the legend of Empress Jingu since these stones seemed like broken masts.  The legend of Empress Jingu is written in Kojiki (the Ancient Chronicle) and Nihonshoki (the Chronicles of Japan).The Emperor Chumei and the Empress Jingu went to Kyushu to attack Kumaso (a tribe) around the third century.   But they received a divine prophecy.  The Emperor Chumei who didn't believe the omen passed away.  The Empress Jingu made an expedition to the Silla Kingdom in Korea instead of the late emperor.The story of Empress Jingu in Kojiki and Nihonshoki is said to reflect the events of the Emperor Saimei.The Empress Jingu is said that she disguised herself as a man and set sail for Silla.  A dance for a triumphant return was held on the coastline of white sand where it might be in front of Tatara Junior High School.  Maimatubara (Mai means dance) was named after the dance of victory.  Referrence/ 「Kokyo Najima no Rekishi 」  (The history of Home town Najima)  (the editorial board members for home town Najima) published in 2005 (Heisei 17) Fukuoka Rekishi Tanbo Higashi-ku hen (Explore for the history of Fukuoka in Higashi-ward) published by Yanagi Takenao in 1995 (Heisei 7) Kaichosha.

ASIANTOPICS vol.7 I'm getting excited when just walking Let's go to Tenjin in Christmas of 2010  A Christmas season makes me happy.  When I go to Tenjin brightly lit with Christmas lights, the illuminations whips up excitement as if I were in a beautiful  「town of light.」 The locals working at the Tenjin district were working together to decorate Tenjin with illuminations and adorned the area with Christmas decorations in 22 spots.  A wide variety of events will be held at each place.  Take a tour of original illuminations at parks, department stores, and trees lining a street.   The Kego Park Being held now until Dec.25th(Sun)5p.m-12.p.m.  You shouldn't miss the Kego Park, the main venue of the events.  The illuminations take you to a fantasy light world.  「Let's go to Tenjin in Christmas of 2010」 marks its 10th anniversary.  We need to keep our eyes on those illuminations featuring the theme 「more brilliance in Tenjin,」 which has more power than before.  An illumination in the shape of  spaceship Yamato is appearing in commemoration of the release for the movie,「Space Battleship Yamato.」  It is nice to watch the movie after enjoying the illuminations.   Check this one, too. Kego Café is the place to relax for a while, enjoying the elluminations. Every Sundays and Saturdays until Jan.10th and Dec.24th (except Jan. 1st and 2nd) 11a.m.-11p.m.  Daimaru Fukuoka Tenjin Passage Plaze Being held now until Dec. 25th (Sat) 9:30 a.m.-11:00 p.m.  ( the last day will be at 9:00 p.m.)  Children cheered wildly when they saw a huge bear.  The huge bear with a height of 10 meters covered by about 30 thousand plastic bottles is appearing accompanied by 7 trees with a height of 4 meters.  The color of the cute bear is changing various colors by using clean energy.  This is a good chance to think about ecology.  Event Check! 「Play & Play gospel Choir」( a small live concert) will be held on Dec.  18th(Sat), 「A handbell concert at Fukuoka Futaba Elementary School 」 on  Dec. 19th(Sun), Santa Claus will come on Dec. 23(Holiday) ~25(Sat)  The Fukuoka Bank Central Branch Being held now until Jan. 10th(Holiday) of 2011  The theme is 「Stepping into the brilliant Lights」 A big tree covered in white leaves is on display. There are more LED lights than last year.  Even after Christmas has come and gone, the lights will still be lit!  That makes me happy!  It is a place for people who want to feel romantic.

ASIAN TAKARABAKO Asian Column Volume 4 Sing and Dance Theaters in India Have you ever watched Indian movies?   Indian movies are characterized by people singing and dancing in musical scenes.  A hero and heroin start singing all of a sudden and backup dancers wearing clothes in every color of the rainbow appear while scenes change rapidly.  People who watch indian movies for the first time might be stunned by a gorgeous musical scenes.   India is one of the largest centers of film production in the world.  Munbai (former Bombay), a center of movie industry, is called 「Bollywood」.  The name 「Bollywood」 is a play on Hollywood.  As India is a major movie manufacturing country, Indians love their movies.  As India is well known as the home of movies, quite a lot of people who visit India might want to watch movies.  Tickets are separated by rank.  The farther you sit from the screen, the more you pay to watch a movie.  Men often take front seats while families who seem rich and couples take seats on the second floor called 「balocony seats」.  India is the country that symbolizes the gap between rich and poor.  The movie industry also is affected by this gap.  What surprised me most was that people really got into the movie.  They entered the theater whistling ready to have a good time!  Some people shouted at the screen when they thought the hero was going to get beaten.  During a musical scene there were moviegoers who stood up to sing a song to and to dance.  I asked if they were allowed to behave their own ways.  The audience can sing a song with the movie as an inserted song is a hit song at the time.  It is not unusual that people watch the same movie several times when their favorite actors are in a blockbuster movie.  The theater is the place where people spend their times intoxicating by the stories, moving from joy to sorrow while moving their bodies to the beat.  It is similar for Japanese who get crazy about music concerts.  The average running time is more or less about 3 hours with a 10 or 15 minite intermission in between.  Don't be surprised when the movie suddenly stops!  Take a breather during the intermission with popcorn or coke like in Japanese theaters.  After the movie finished, the moviegoers seemed satistied with it.  I believe that the movies are indispensable for Indians as part of amusements.  I want you to watch Indian movies that give you Indian culture and that are just a little bit different from Japan.

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