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Issue 5 Faces of Fukuoka through images "Attractive images of the scenes"

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Features Faces of Fukuoka  through images  -Attractive images of the scenes- There are many image works  set in Fukuoka-city.  Fukuoka and Hakata have been described in many stories which take place in various time periods; from the earliest times to modern times.  Many movies are stored in the Film Archives in Fukuoka.  However, not all the movies in the Film Archives were shot in Fukuoka or Hakata,   If those films that were shot in Fukuoka are shown at home and abroad, they will play a role in showcasing Fukuoka to the world.  This site introduces the appealing attractions and scenery of the films shot in Fukuoka and Hakata.  We carried out  interviews with movie directors who shot movies in Fukuoka as well as members of the Fukuoka Film Commission who offered us a look at locations for shootings.   My image of Hakata Movie director : Gakuryu Ishii The world meets Fukuoka-city  Activities of the Fukuoka Film Commission.

My memories in Hakat - August in the water  Movie director : Gakuryu Ishii (former name: Sogo Ishii)ISHII GAKURYU    In 1994, Fukuoka-city was hit by a heat wave.  Sogo Ishii、a movie director from Hakata district, tried to shoot a new movie set in the place he was born and raised.  A new movie called,「August in the water」 is an spiritual and fantasy movie on one summer event that happened to high-school students against a mysterious background.   The movie was filmed entirely in Fukuoka City, while staff and the cast lived under the same roof.  The movie vividly portrayed the ambiance of Fukuoka-Hakata streets as well as nature and the mood in the beautiful scenes.  This is a work studded with his Hakata-based cosmology.    Looking back at the times,  the  movie director Gakuryu Ishi accepted our interview.   What does Fukuoka Hakata mean for you? It is not simply a place for shooting, is it?   When it comes to the world, Asia always comes first for me since it emerges as reality.  I believe that Fukuoka City is one of a few cities in Japan that shares Asian chemistry.  What I realized after visiting various countries in the world was exactly what I had felt in my childhood.  That is: people around the world have a lot in common.  For example, after I returned to Hakata from Bali, a back alley in Hakata made me feel something nostalgic about Bali.  It was exactly the same in Bali.  Because the mood and air in Hakata is similar to Bali.  Although Japanese people take it for granted that there is a large city surrounded by mountains as well as rivers and the sea, it is unusual for cities that have such beautiful scenery.  I realized that my hometown, Fukuoka City, had everything I needed to shoot a movie.  I think {August in the Water} is a very different style from the other movies you shot.  Experiences in Hakata have grown my roots.  For example, I was really captivated by the Hakata Gion Yamagasa Festival in my childhood.  Now I realized that typical streets in Hakata and usual experiences meant a lot to express what I wanted.  At the times, I always thought about how to deal with the mental stress and how to escape it since I lived in Tokyo.  So I wanted to product a movie making advantage of  a common sight such as clouds or familiar fields that would touch our hearts. .  I think it is enough.   The core of the story is the Hakata Gion Yamagasa festival It plays an important role.  The festival is said that Buddhist priests started the ceremony to get rid of a plague that spread through Fukuoka City.   Fukuoka City is a city that people have still kept the legend.  The geography of Fukuoka City is comprised of mountains, the sea, and rivers which inspired me to make {a Myth.}  So I interpreted the Hakata Gion Yamagasa festival and its scenery in my style, and I tried to portray it with the top notch images without making compromises.

 What does Fukuoka Hakata mean for you? It is not simply a place for shooting, is it?   Of course, our staff members did a really great job, but the hospitality and the generosity that members of *Nagare in Yamagasa and  local people offered us to accomplish the movie was essential.  I couldn't  have done it without their support.   I felt the human nature and the spirit of Hakata.  Although Fukuoka City is my hometown,  I can say that there is something in the city.  It is difficult to find something in other cities.      Images of water were used in many scenes abundantly in the first half such as high diving as well as the Hakata Gion Yamagasa.  I always wanted to produce a film portrayed the world of {Hakatakko Jyunjyo,}(a title of Manga) written by Housei Hasegawa, and to combine the movie with high diving.  High diving is cut out for Oriental people.  When I watched the competition, I thought Chinese were the most sophisticated among the athletes.  Japanese were also beautiful.  Oriental people have the body for high diving.  High diving is the sport that carries symbolic meaning of death and rebirth as the body plunges into swimming pool under the influence of gravity and then floats in the water.   As I thought competing the beauty of performance would be great, and high diving would be the most beautiful sport, I wanted to unite the sport with Hakata based cosmology.    Were there many staff from Fukuoka City on the set?   There were staff from Fukuoka City, but most of the main staff were from Tokyo.  At that time, I held a workshop for cultural programs in Fukuoka City, called {Fukuoka Jissen Eiga Jyuku}(Fukuoka Practical Movie Tutoring School) every year.   It was not only simply a classroom lecture, but also a full scale experience of overall film making as experts on movies gave a lecture.  Many of the students joined in the movie set as volunteers and extras.   They helped a lot as human power was needed on the movie fields.  Some of students became professionals such as staff and movie directors later.    The movie was shot during a water shortage in Fukuoka City like the story in the movie.   At first, I shot a scene involving the Hakata Gion Yamagasa in July, then I made scenes involving actors in August.  Fukuoka City begun water restriction when I started to shoot the film. .  We couldn't flush out the toilet. (laughs)  Aoki and Takarai, the leading actors, gave away their true feelings on the water shortage without playing the part as they stayed in a room that was used as the staff room.  Good weather gave us opportunities for shots.     But it was a heavy rain on the last day.   So I think it was the scene that nature was on my side.   * Nagare: Administrative district of Hakata ward readjusted by Hideyoshi Toyotomi. The Hakata Matsubayashi ( a traditional festival in Hakata) and theHakata Gion Yamagasa are held by Nagare units.

 The ambiance of Fukuoka and Hakata was portrayed as the scenes had been shot entirely in Fukuoka City.  As I really wanted to capture the town of Fukuoka City, I was particular about shooting places to the bitter end.  Everything except a waterfall and an outside swimming pool for  high diving was shot in Fukuoka City. With Hakatabu(north-west of Hakata ward) centered, we shot all over the place such as around Watanabe-dori(name of street) and the Maizuru Park. As Mikosan(a imaginary mountain) became a crucial mountain,  I substituted Mt.Tachibana in Higashi ward for the outside of Mikosan, and also used appearances of Aburayama and Shikanoshima for the forest around relics.   Back-alley and small Jizo temples really conveyed time honored ambience of Hakata.  As the main characters were set to live in Hakata, we used actual houses in Shimo-gofukumachi and Naka-gofukumachi.  Time honored mood of the houses might not remain now.  A room that the heroine Izumi Hazuki lived with her sister was rented from acquaintances and  was decorated completely for shooting.  People working in government supported us a lot.  I really appreciated their support because there was not a Film Commission at that time.  I owe many people a great deal for what they've done for the film.    The hospitality and the generosity of the people in Fukuoka City made the film more than the film budget.  Was this movie a turning point for you?  Well, it is an important one.  Passion for the city people living in Fukuoka City and the staff  was rewarded.  Streets and nature also added spice to the movie.  Unfortunately, the Fukuoka City Public Library is the only place in Japan where {August in the Water} could be screened since it has stored the film at the film archives.  Although, people have a  limited opportunity to see the movie,  I hope that people feel something new in Fukuoka City that people in the city must be familiar to.   August in the Water  1995/35mm/color/118 minutes Writer-Director : Sogo Ishii/ Cast : Rena Komine  Shinsuke Aoki  Naho Toda  Reiko Matuo  Masaaki Takarai  Hideyo Amamoto  Yuji Nakamura   Izumi Hazuki who is a candidate of high diving team for the Olympic Games met Sinsuke Aoki, her senior at high-school, and they become attracted to each other.  The city where they live is hit by a heat wave that causes a water shortage.  In the city,  a strange disease called{Sekkabyo} is rampant among people.  One day, Izumi had accident during the meet to linger between life and death.    The Fukuoka City Public Library at Cinema hall {Cinela} : Fukuoka inside the films  10, Nov (Wed) 14:00/ 20, Nov(Sat) 11:00

 Gakuryu Ishii  A movie director.  A professor at the Kobe Design University.  Ishii was born in 1957 at Chiyo, Hakata-district in Fukuoka City, graduated from Fukuoka High school.  Shortly after he  attended  the Nihon University College of Art in 1976, he directed  his debut 8mm movie named Panic High School.  He received a fervent response.  In 1980, He was in the forefront of a Japanese New Wave when he filmed Crazy Thunder Road.   In 1982, Ishii released Burst City.  He continued to direct radical and outrageous action films.   The Crazy Family garnered the Grand Prix at the 8th Saruso Film Festival in 1984 and Ishii received high acclaim at home and abroad.     Ishii released an award-winning film,{Angel Dust} at the Birmingham Film Festival in 1994, {August in the Water} in 1995, and {Labyrinth of Dreams} which won the Grand Prix at the Oslo Film Festival in 1997.  Blockbuster movie,{Gojo Reisenki}, which combined a period drama and SFX, was released in 2000.   In the new millennium, {Electric Dragon 8000V}in 2001 and {Dead End Run} in 2002, which went beyond movie genre.    In 2005, Ishii released {Kyoshin}(Mirror mind) using full-digital machinery.  Ishii is widely acclaimed by people in movie industries and artists for his approach of film images that combines avant-garde music and scenery  or sight of light, although it is viewed as {experimental},   Ishii has been directing students at the Department of Image Arts at Kobe Design University since 2006.  He held workshops at Fukuoka Jissen Eigajyuku(Fukuoka Practical Movie Tutoring School) from 1993 to 1997.  He engaged in a title image inspired by water, Genkainada(The Sea of Genkai), and the Hakata Gion Yamagasa for the Asia Focus Fukuoka International Movie Festival and also engaged in a display and composition of {Yumeno Kyusaku Ten} He changed his name from Sogo to Gakuryu to step into a new stage.     Ishi tried to direct a new story film with his students, with his production based in Kobe.  This film will be the first film produced by Gakuryu Ishi since he changed his name.  Isn't anyone alive? ( Writer: Shiro Maeda   Award-Winning Story of Kishidaguni Ogikyoku prise  Director : Gakuryu Ishii/will be released in Autumn of 2011 in nationwide

 The world sees Fukuoka-city  The activity of the Fukuoka Film Commission  Image works such as movies or TV dramas need a set in a way that goes with the story.   Some works are shot in a set made in studios to shoot the film, the others are shot in real views, some places, and shops, depending on a plan or a story.   Actually, shooting on a spot makes the shooting more efficient, contributing to expand a view of the world.   In that case, we take all equipment out to make a location shooting.  The Film Commission is an organization to support on-location shoots.    What is the Film Commission?  The Film Commission is designed to promote local revitalization, culture development, and tourism by inviting on-location shoots for movies and TV dramas.  The film commission is run by the local governments or private bodies adhering to three basic principles.    1). It must be a nonprofit organization.( It must offer services without any compensation.)  2). It offers a one-stop service.  (a single site where all types of procedures can be completed.)  3). It doesn't consider the content. (Members of the Film Commission will give advice on the shooting without interrupting the content of movies.)   The Fukuoka Film Commission Research started in 2001 on a voluntary basis of private sectors.  After several years of the preparation of private and public sectors, the Fukuoka Film Commission was inaugurated in 2003.  The head office is at the Fukuoka City Cultural Promotion Section.   It has been supporting on-location shoots more than 50 films a year such as movies, TV dramas, and commercial messages since the Film Commission started.    For example, the Film Commission introduces a location spot where it is suitable to the image, making an arrangement for the location, recruiting extras, and offering meals as well as accommodations for film crews.  It offers help to facilitate shootings by coping well with the challenges and problems.  The head office of the Film Commission is at Fukuoka City Cultural Promotion Section.  The activity areas are 17 outlying cities and towns surrounding Fukuoka.  A proposal for candidates  {Akunin, Villain} that had won the Best Actress Award in the Montreal World Film Festival was released in autumn of 2010.  (Akunin, Villain : director : Lee Sang il / starring : Satoshi Tsumabuki and Eri Fukazu) The film was shot in one city and two prefectures. (Fukuoka-city, Saga and Nagasaki prefecture).    The thoughts and feelings of characters have built up some powerful images in the scenes of Kyushu.   It was a supervisor Yasuo Tabata and Toru Matuso in the Fukuoka City Cultural Promotion Section who had supported the shooting in the late November of 2009.

  Mr. Matsuo accompanied two producers, the director, and the writer shuji Yoshida, to research places in order to compose the scenario. (Japanese called it scenario hunting.)   Matsuo says, 「 I read the original novel shortly after they got in touch with me, while imaging places where they were suitable to the novel.   Throwing in with this stage makes the Film Commission easy for preparation.」  The scenario is an important factor to develop the original novel.   The scenario hunting is a research for places and scenes in order to draw up the scenario.   Looking for the places based on the final scenario for the shooting is called location hunting.  The places for the shooting are determined by the location hunting.  Preparing for the shooting on the scene effectively is the job for the production department.  The Film Commission also supports the job of the production department.  When it comes to the proposal for on-location shoots, we have little communication with a director on where the scene is taken place. (location-hunting)   We carry the proposal through the production department.   If we share images more specifically with the director, we will find the location easily, giving them the better proposals.  It's no wonder that we're not staff of the production.  It was a special and rare case for us to have shared the images with the production side before the shooting.  The advantage of the locations in Fukuoka  Fukuoka is a vigorous city surrounded by the sea and mountains.  Fukuoka is well endowed with tradition and the up-to-date-trend as well as bountiful nature.  Well-developed traffic accessibility that allows people to go to all of Kyushu areas by using freeways or trains.  Those factors make the shooting easier.    「Fukuoka also has other advantages.  For example, The Fukuoka airport is located near the city, so the location of the airport makes it possible for actors to come to the city in the morning and go home on the same day if their shooting schedules are not tight.  It also comes in handy for the producers.  But there is also a drawback to shooting a film.  Sometimes actors and concerned parties have to wait for a while until the sound of planes has gone.  For instance, the Hakozaki campus in Kyushu University is a suitable place for the shooting as there still remain old buildings.  But the roaring sound from the planes is a pain in the neck for staff as the area is under the flight routes,」 says Matsuo with a feeling of much regret.

  The imposing building of Kyushu University gave the movies dignity in {K-20 kaijin nijyumenso den} starring Takeshi Kaneshiro ( director : Shimako Sato) released in 2008 and {Deguchinonai umi} (director : Kiyoshi Sasabe) released in 2006.  Artistic creations and CGs don't hold a candle to the real things.  {Buildings have been rebuilt over a short period of time.  So Fukuoka doesn't have a scene where old houses remain.  Even there are few old houses that give off a feeling of the past, the brand-new buildings are also next to the houses.   Everything could get a full makeover in a decade.  After the Fukuoka Seihooki Earthquake hit Fukuoka city in 2005, many buildings were demolished because of their lack of earthquake resistance.   It can't be helped but it's a shame.} says Tabata.  {Since many stories that we took part in were set in modern days, we supported the shooting.  But the story that goes back to the ages, we have to look for a place where it is suitable to the image.   We manage to make it into a countryside scene.}    They devote their times to looking for candidates that are suitable to the times not only in the city but also in the outskirts of the city.     Qualification for a shooting place  There are a lot of people and materials that are not on screen such as casts and staff as well as a flood of the shooting equipment.  Cars and cranes are used to move materials, and also a power-supply car is on the location site.  「Sometimes I am reluctant to support the shooting or there is a place where I have difficulty to help the shooting.  For instance, 」Akunin, Villain「 was shot in a high-traffic streets of Watanabe-dori or Keyaki-dori.  At first, I was wondering how I could deal with the high-traffic streets.   But I somehow adjusted it with the police.  This kind of problems are happened behind the scenes.」  Tabata and Matsuo talked about hardships.   When the scene was shot in the car, the staff shot the scene from another car, while pulling the car with the casts.   Permission for the shoot from the police is indispensable.    Shooting might disturb locals in some way since the location site is daily living area for locals.   As best as we could, we didn't want to inconvenience the citizens with the shooting.   「The shooting on Keyaki-dori was tough because of a busy road.  We unloaded the equipment from a truck one after another as if we were a professional movers, and then the truck was moved smoothly to some places like an elementary school ground」. Tabata says.   As things that associated with the shooting such as the place for the truck or a made set are important as they are not on screen.  We need to find the site on the assumption of a situation of the film.  「When I walk to the street (not to look for places as the business), I can't help but stop to see a place that draws my attention, wondering if it could be a suitable place for the shooting.  What if I see the place from this side?  I found myself entering into a shop if it seemed interesting.」 says Tabata. 「This is a nature for people associated with the Film Commission.」 says, Matsuo.

 More and more community-based approaches engage in movie culture  The Film Commission is designed for the city promotion.  But you don't get anywhere easily.  「It depends on a story of a movie.   As it is very difficult to estimate feedback on the works,  we try not to rely on limited sources as the basis for a decision.  I think it is difficult to bring about better results in a short term.   Good results are attributed to the efforts we make in many works.  We always keep in mind to think about benefits for the people in the city, while doing jobs as the culture development.」  The Tourist Department or the Tourist Association tends to be in charge of the Film Commission in other local self-governing bodies.   The Fukuoka City Cultural Promotion Section is in charge of the Film Commission.  The Film Commission not only offers the production sectors on-location shoots but also lets people in the city to take part in the movie culture. That's a very important job for the Film Commission.  「I want to decide a schedule ASAP, because there are the people who take a paid vacation in order to join our activities.   When it comes to the shooting, the production sector is preoccupied with many things to do.  So it is difficult to decide all the specific details.   We absolutely want to decide every detail at least a week before the shooting starts.」   As much as he can, Matsuo says that he sometimes faced dilemma to meet the needs of the production sector.  「The film crew who dealt with a low budget said that they had a very good time to make the film with the local community.  It might have been tough for the community that involved in the shooting, but it was fun」.  We really appreciate that kind of feedback.  We received entirely favorable responses「 Tabata says,」what encourages us is the people in local community who support the shooting.  「A movie is culture.  Let's work together.」 The Fukuoka Film Commission is waiting for your participation.   The Fukuoka Film Commission works in close connection with The Japan Film Commission (JFC) and the Agency for Cultural Affairs, while sending information for on-location shoots to the movie productions at the Movie Festivals and promotion events such as 「JFC on- location shoots Fair」.   It also joins the Asian Film Commission Network as well as the International Film Commission Association.  The Fukuoka Film Commission sends messages on location sites in Fukuoka not only at home but also worldwide to invite shootings on a daily basis.

Fua's Asian trip   A town for history and college students    Hakozaki, Hikashi-ku, Fukuoka-city    This is Fu:a.   Hakozaki reminds me of the campus in Kyushu University and Hojyoya at the Hakozaki shrine. (Hojyoya is one of three major festivals in Hakata).  I spent a few hours walking slowly along the street, while finding a small shines and small Jizo temples.  There still remain interesting buildings in the Machiya style as well as old style shops along the street.  Those buildings add charm to Hakozaki town where you can imagine the way people lived.    Let's take a slow walk to find something interesting.          1.Fukuoka Masjid  When you walk for a while on the east side of the road from JR Hakozaki station, you can see a building with a rounded roof as if it was right out of a fairy tale.  I was surprised there was a Mosque in Hakozaki.   Masjid was the first mosque built in Fukuoka in 2009(Heisei 21)!  This is the place of worship and also the place for an exchange for Muslims who live in Kyushu and go to Kyushu University.  You can enter the Mosque where beautiful carpets are spread out, even if you don't believe in Islam.  Just keep in mind that this is a place for praying.      2.Kyushu University  Speaking of the symbol of Hakozaki as the town for students, Kyushu University comes first.  Entering by an imposing main gate that was made of red bricks, I was overwhelmed by the history-laden buildings.  The administrative building made of bricks, built in 1925(Taisho 14), looked exactly like a Western-style building in dramas.   I was wondering that the universities in the past would be fashionable.  There were closed buildings in the Hakozaki campus as Kyushu University was moving to the new campus.  I felt a little bit lonely.   I hope that these nostalgic buildings will be used for something useful after the university is moved.

 3.Mr. Nabir from Egypt I found a nice takeout shop in the campus.  A staff member of the university asked Mr. Nabir if he could offer Halal Food for Islamic students. (Halal Food is made without any pork and alcohol)  Now, Mr. Nabir from Egypt who is warmly called Nabi san runs the takeout shop.  He offers Chicken Kabab ( chicken and vegetables are wrapped by Tortilla) and curry.   He offers inexpensive heavy meals.  The shop is located next to the Study-Abroad Office.  The shop is opened from 11:00 to 15:00 on Mondays to Fridays.   It has a really Asian.     4.Hakozaki Shopping Area Hakozaki is a handy location to live as the subway station and JR station is easily accessible.  What struck me was the Hakozaki shotengai where it took me back to the good old days. (Hakozaki is mid-sized town.)  When you walk through the alley, there is a fruit shop, Tofu shop, and tea shop where the owners and visitors have a conversation.  You hear visitors laugh.  It is easy to notice the closed shops since Kyushu University is moving to the new campus.   But a new coffee shop was opened, using an old shop.  Let's pay attention on Hakozaki where eclectic mix of the old and new adds a charm.   5.Hakozakigu ( The Hakozaki shrine) The Hakozaki shrine is a venerable shrine with more than 1000 years of distinguished history.  I had never missed a cotton candy and a candied apple at the Hojyoya( a festival in autumn).  The Hakozaki shrine is well known as the place where the members of the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks and the Avispa Fukuoka pray for victory.  There is a big wooden plaque on which many players signed an autograph.  Fu:a bought pigeon's food(100 yen) at a vending machine which is inside the grounds.  As soon as I had the food in my hand, I was surrounded by pigeons.   That made me happy but a little bit scared.

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 six  Manshiro Jinjya(The Manshiro shrine) Kozaemon Ito, the fallen wealthy merchant by the illegal trade, Kozaemon Ito  The Manshiro shrine is located near the Kuramoto intersection at the Daihaku-dori.  The shrine is dedicated to the children of Kozaemon Ito who were punished by beheading for committing the crime of trading illegally in 1667 (Kanbun 7).   With his family and followers as well as relatives including a head clerk and an assistant manager were arrested, some were brheaded or crucified, the others were sent into exile.   The name of the Manshiro shrine was named after Ito's third child (then 5 years old) and fourth child(then 3 years old).  Actually, these two kids were saved, the punishments were so brutal that people chanted the name 「manshiro sama」 and enshrined him.  Nowadays, The Manshiro shrine is known as the God of children and commerce.  Kozaemon Ito was a second-generation business man in Hakata.   He saved money by having his own shops in Nagasaki as a purveyor to the domain of Kuroda, dealing in iron and rice to support the Kuroda, minting coins as well as practicing Nagegane  (lending money to foreigners and Japanese who wanted to go to abroad).  He was a large-scale business man raking in a fortune by sailing for the coast of the Korean Peninsula, Taiwan, and Macao.  The ceiling of his residence covered with glass was a symbol of his wealth.  It was said that there were goldfish on the ceiling.  Tadayuki, the second lord of the Kuroda-han, was encouraging overseas trade.  But it turned out that Kozaemon smuggled weapons into Korea.   Although the Kozaemon had rendered meritorious service to the Kuroda-han, the Itos and followers were severely punished.   The domain of Fukuoka was caught in dilemma since the clan was forced to execute Kozaemon as an offender of the closed-door policy.   It is said that Mitsuyuki, the third lord of the Fukuoka-han, regretted not saving Kozaemon.  People whose houses were by the roadside shut the doors when Ito's family and followers were taken to the place of execution, praying for their peaceful death.     The tombs of the Ito clan were at the Myorakuji (temple).   Why don't you imagine the wealthy merchant sailing out on the rough sea not only in Japan but also abroad a long long time ago.   References/ [The wealthy merchant of a tragedy: Kozaemon Ito] written by Yoko Takeno Sekifusha  published in 1999

ASIANTOPICS vol.6 Fukuoka Octoberfest 2010 A report on the Festival  I went to the Fukuoka Octoberfest in 2010 that was held at the Reisen Koen at Hakata-ward from Oct., 22 to Oct., 31.  People may think what the Octoberfest is all about.  The Octoberfest is the Beer Festival in Fukuoka.  For example, there is the largest beer festival in the world held at Munich in Germany, gathering 6.5 million people every year.   People drink more than six million cups of beer, while having more than thirty thousand sausages.  Germany reminds me of people in ethnic costumes dancing with their arms tucked into their partners, while holding a jug of beer or sausages.  The Fukuoka Octoberfest was exactly what I had imaged.    When I went to the Reisen Koen, I saw many special tents set up, hearing joyous music.  The noticeably different park made me excited.   Since the place became crowded with people, it was very difficult for me to take a seat at the place that could accommodate 1,200 people.   There were seven German beers such as Erdinger and Kostrizer.   Beer mugs were separated by the brand of beer.  Many mugs in different shapes with different designs were also prepared.  One was a long and thin glass, and the other was shaped as a tankard made of pottery.    When I had a beer, I had to pay extra money as a deposit. (1,000 yen)  I had 1,000 yen refunded when I left the place.  When I gave back an empty glass or mug to have another beer, I only paid for a charge of beer.  That was a system for the Festa.   A taste of beer was really rich and good.   Sausages and pretzels that were essential for beer were abundantly prepared.     An ethnic musical band on accordions and guitars boosted the mood of the Festival.  I found myself singing a song 「Ein Prosit Ein Prosit Der Gemutlichkeit」( Let's toast!)  I sang a familiar song with people who I'd never met before in the a big circle, dancing with them.    The Fukuoka Octoberfest that was held from September to November of 2010 was a part of an event of 「Hakata Akihaku,」 while introducing music, art, and history to the citizens.   As I was having a good time, I was wondering if the festival could be held every year like Munich.

ASIAN TAKARABAKO Asian Treasure  Asian Column Volume 3  Tanaka Eye-popping The way of Myanmar style of makeup    What struck many tourists was the way of Myanmar style makeup.  Women and children with makeup on  their noses or cheeks.   They put on foundation partially.   It looked strange since they seemed to be wearing a mud pack.   It is unlikely that Japanese women put on their makeup partially.    When I asked what it was, they said 「Tanaka.」   The name Tanaka is a very common family name in Japan.  It is very funny if the name of Tanaka was related to the makeup.   But the name Tanaka has nothing to do with the makeup.    Tanaka is a traditional cosmetic in Myanmar.   People in Myanmar grind branches of the Tanaka tree into a powder state and then add some water.  The Tanaka tree grows naturally.  Tanaka is said to  protect the skin from burns and chapped skin .  One waman was putting a circle made of Tanaka only on her cheek, the other was putting Tanaka heavily on her face.  It depends on the person.   There also was a woman who showed her individuality by painting a heart or a shape of a star.    Putting Tanaka on might be a chance for women in Myanmar to show off.   Tanaka plays an important role to determine whether she is beautiful or not.  A compact- sized Tanaka was also sold like a pocket-sized foundation.  A woman who worked at the market put Tanaka on my cheek, recommending it to me as a souvenir.  It made me feel cool for a while.  I thought it really hit the spot for a country with very hot and humid air.  But when I looked into a mirror, 「What a startling face!」   A woman who put foundation heavily on her face was standing in front of the mirror.  I just said that「Awful! 」   I don't think Japanese people will get used to the way of Myanmar style makeup.  It will appeal to the very hippest of Japanese, knowing that it is a truly natural cosmetic.     I was impressed that Myanmar is awash with women and men wearing Loungyi ( a traditional wrap skirt).  Comparing to neighboring Southeast Asians who are commonly wearing Jeans, Myanmar is the country that still retains its own traditional culture, making the country attractive.  I hope Tanaka and Loungyi will be passed on to next generations in the future

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