Tag Archives: Japan

Yabusame – Women’s Horseback Archery Festival

Photo property of NewinNippon

The history of Japanese horseback archery dates back to the 4th century, however, women mounted archers are a modern innovation.

Photo property of NewinNippon

Photo property of NewinNippon

Yabusame (流鏑馬) is a type of mounted archery in traditional Japanese archery. An archer on a running horse shoots three special “turnip-headed” arrows successively at three wooden targets. A red parasol is displayed if the rider hits the target with the arrow.

Photo property of NewinNippon

Traditionally, women were barred from performing in yabusame, but in 1963 female archers participated in a yabusame demonstration for the first time. Every spring in Towada, women from around the area demonstrate their marksmanship while balancing on a galloping horse!

Photo property of NewinNippon

A yabusame archer gallops down a 255-meter-long track at high speed. The archer mainly uses the knees to control the horse and uses both hands to draw and shoot the bow.

Yabusame was designed as a way to please and entertain the myriad of gods that watch over Japan, thus encouraging their blessings for the prosperity of the land, the people, and the harvest.

Photo property of NewinNippon

An arrow finds it’s mark!

Photo property of NewinNippon

A young archer in training.

1 Comment

Filed under fun

Cherry Blossoms in Northern Japan

Photo property of newinnippon.

The cherry blossom have arrived in Misawa Japan. I’m so glad to be home in Japan once again and just in time for spring! Here is a beautiful poem by C. Richard Miles that describes my feelings better than I ever could…
 

Photo property of newinnippon.

 
Cherry Blossom
 
The cherry blossom’s out to brighten city streets
And daffodils all shout that spring is here to greet
The trees, about to burst in bud and leaf and bloom,
That bring us all relief from winter’s hateful gloom.
 
The cherry blossom’s out and scattered in a drift
All down the busy road, a welcome petalled gift
Resembling winter snow, all soft and white and light
But not so cruel and cold, this cheerful, happy sight.
 
The cherry blossom’s out, so simple clean and pure
Before it starts to fall upon the road’s rough floor
But even in the crush of traffic’s trundling wheels
Its bloom brings us a blush of beauty, which appeals.
 
The cherry blossom’s out and floats upon the breeze
Which toys with every branch upon the cherry trees
In cheerful playfulness on this soft, spring-like day
An early splash of white before the buds of May. 
 

2 Comments

Filed under fun

Its Festival Time in Nothern Japan!

July and August are the summer festival months in Northern Japan. Every weekend there are multiple festivals nearby making it difficult to choose which one to attend! If you are in the area, here is a list of upcoming festivals

We attended the Neputa festival in Hirosaki last weekend. The parade of floats lasted for three hours while the crowd cheered them on. The floats are pulled by groups of men and women. Each float had drummers and flute players accompanied by groups of children carrying lanterns. The festival was truly a joyous celebration!

 

On a sad note, my Sony Cybershot DSC W-150 died 30 minutes before the parade ended. As you can see, the camera was taking fantastic night shots right up until the last. R.I.P. my dear little Sony Cybershot. You will be mourned…

2 Comments

Filed under fun

Rice field art near Hirosaki, Japan

Tony and I recently headed to Hirosaki for the Neputa festival and decided that we would stop in Inakadate and see the famous rice art recently featured on CNN. From a ground level view it is nearly impossible to determine the artwork. In order to view the subject depicted, you must view the field from atop a four-storied building across the street.

Amazing! I never knew there were so many color variations among rice plants!

Leave a comment

Filed under fun

Wild Horses at Cape Shiriya

This weekend, we drove up to Cape Shiriya to view the wild horses.

“Crossbred with the Tanabu and the French Breton breed, Kandachime horses are tolerant of northern Japan’s brutal winters, have great stamina and exist on a simple diet.”

“In 1970, a local elementary school principal composed a tanka, a 31-syllable Japanese poem, that gave the Kandachime their name — literally “to stand in the cold.””

“On clear days, the northernmost Japanese prefecture of Hokkaido can be seen to the north across the Tsugaru Strait.” Well, it wasn’t a clear day….

You can read the full article from stars and stripes at: http://www.stripes.com/military-life/travel/where-wild-horses-roam-in-northern-japan-1.11331

1 Comment

Filed under fun

Shutter Island? Northern Japan!

2 Comments

Filed under fun

What a Big Buddha!

On a recent road trip to Amori, Tony and I took a side trip to view the thrid largest Buddha in Japan. Yes, it is big, really, really big!

1 Comment

Filed under fun, Picture of the Day

Jizo Statues in Nikko

Leave a comment

Filed under Picture of the Day

America Day: Red, White, and Blue!

Every year during the first week of june, Misawa AB coordinates with Misawa City to host a festival called “America Day”.  Local japanese folks can enjoy live music, carnival food, and photo opportunities just as if they were at a typical festival in the U.S. This year there were many live country western bands and a special performance from the Pacific Air Force Band. The weather was sunny and the turnout was spectacular.

Uncle Sam even made an appearance!

Across the street are the food booths set up by the local Japanese vendors. This is where most of the Americans were heading. Wait until you see the treats!

From the back: fried sweet potatoes, french fries, french fries with hot dogs, and cheese rolls!

 My latest food obsession, crepes, fruit and whipped creme!

 My husband’s latest food obsession: marinated, grilled steak on a stick, of course.

America Day was a welcome reminder of the sounds and tastes of home, whether that home be the U.S. or Japan. Sharing food and creating new memories reminds us of how much we really have in common. Enjoying a sunny day. Savoring a hot, fresh funnel cake. Tapping your foot to “Sweet Home Alabama”. These are the simple moments that make life so sweet.

Leave a comment

Filed under fun

Chirashi Sushi

Do you like sushi, but just do not have the time to fashion all those precise little rolls? I have a fast, fun alternative to traditional sushi called Chirashi Sushi. As you can see in the picture below, it’s rather like a free-form sushi, almost like a casserole. It’s so fast and easy to make and would make a great week-night meal or even an easy dish to serve guest.

The ingredients can vary to include pretty much anything you like, however, the base of the sushi is rice, kinshi tamago (egg crepe), vegetables, and some type of protein. Our example includes salmon, fried tofu, mushrooms, cucumber, and fish powder.

To get started you will need:

Egg, one per person

Rice, about a cup, cooked, per person

Beef, poultry, fish or tofu, about a 4 ounce serving per person

Vegetables of your choice: carrots, mushrooms, broccoli, onion

Vinegar

Sugar

Garnish of your choice. Fish flakes, pickled ginger, seaweed strips, rice seasoning

First, flavor your cooked rice. The idea is to make sushi rice, so flavor one cup of cooked rice with about one tablespoon of vinegar, 1/4 tablespoon of sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Sprinkle this mixture over your cooked rice and then mix into the rice with a slicing motion. Set the rice aside.

Next, cook the kinshi tamago (egg crepe) by cracking the egg into a bowl and whisking vigorously then frying the egg in a medium-hot pan until done.

After it has cooled, julienne the egg into very thin strips. Next, cook your protein, I chose salmon.

Cut your protein of choice into very small slices. Now combine the egg, salmon, rice, and whatever vegetables and garnishes you choice in a medium size serving dish. This dish is wonderful served with miso soup. Enjoy! Wasn’t that easy?

Leave a comment

Filed under food