Sunday, 3 February 2013

Class Activity to Hakata

Last Wednesday (30th Jan 2013) one of our teachers was ill with a cold so the others teachers decided we'd go with Gaku-san (one of the school administrators) out to one of the older areas in Fukuoka which is called Hakata 博多. It seems to be a pretty famous area for its sweets and dolls, old crafts and traditional festivals. There are also a number of old shrines in the area which is where we went to.

So after getting the train and bus into Tenjin and across to Hirakata we first stopped off at the Hakata Folk Museum which had lots of random pictures drawn by local people upstairs. They also had a crafts section that had glass blowing, Hakata dolls, spinning tops, fabric, all made in the area. There was one girl painting some of the spinning tops.

Downstairs it was mostly information about a huge festival in July called the mans festival which goes on for 15days and involves men running around Hakata carrying 1ton floats and shouting a lot. The picture above is one of the floats that was on display in Hakata (not the museum) but the ones the men carry around are less than half this size. There are also different districts which compete with their floats and how fast they can carry them. Here's a video of what it's like It's just a shame that Wes and I will be leaving literally a few days before they have the part of the festival where they run around the city.

Next to the main part of the museum was another folk crafts section and I got to have a go at weaving fabric! It was kinda cool. The girl doing it said it took her an hour to do 1 foot of fabric!

We then headed over to a shrine where they're famous for their Setsubun celebration because each year they put giant faces of the goddess Fuku who brings good fortune and health on their entrances. It's supposed to be good to walk through her mouth into the shrine. Every temple and shrine seems to be doing setsubun celebration stuff, this one's just famous in particular. (I'll put up what Setsubun is in another post)


These rocks are so heavy that only a sumo wrestler can pick them up. If he can he gets his name engraved in it. These two are of the current Yokozuna's (top sumo wrestlers) who came to the shrine and were able to lift the rocks by themselves.

The last place we headed to was a Buddhist temple down the road from the shrine. I'd completely forgotten until I was inside that I'd been there before. Inside they have a giant Buddha made out of wood, which you can go underneath and see the different kinds of hell. Then you go through a long pitch black tunnel and at the end is a single light with a picture of the Buddha. It was cool. Gaku-san was so scared though (I mentioned it to another teacher at school and she said she'd never done it she was so scared). Hehehe.

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