Tsuchiyama, Koka and Shinagawa, Tokyo

Pine tree from Tsuchiyama in Shinagawa-jukuLast weekend, I went to visit Shinagawa-juku 品川宿 in Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo for the first time. Shinagawa was the first post town 宿場 on the Tokaido Road. Shinagawa-juku is near Shinagawa Station.

In Shiga, there are many shukuba-machi like Kusatsu , Minakuchi , and Samegai because we have the Nakasendo and Tokaido passing through. I’ve visited most of them and most of them have some shukuba-like traditional buildings such as the impressive Honjin guesthouse in Kusatsu.

So when I visited Shinagawa-juku, I was disappointed to see that there was nothing traditional. Everything was very modern and it looks like any ordinary street in Japan. But the people in Shinagawa-juku are very proud about the history of Shinagawa-juku and they have a tourist information office near the entrance of the Tokaido Road. They also have a walking map for Shinagawa-juku and signs in Japanese (sometimes English too) explaining about various historical spots in Shinagawa-juku.

There are also several pine trees along the old Tokaido Road in Shinagawa-juku. They were all donated to Shinagawa-juku from other shukuba-machi on the Tokaido Road. And one of the pine trees came from Tsuchiyama in Koka! The other pine trees came from Oiso, Hamamatsu, and Mishima. Tsuchiyama is the 49th post town on the Tokaido (there are 53 post towns in total).

Pine tree in ShinagawaThe Tsuchiyama pine tree is at the site of Shinagawa-juku’s Honjin (see photo) which is now an empty space. (Looks very lonely.) I’ve never visited Tsuchiyama. Hope to go there soon.

See photos of Shinagawa-juku here.

Vocabulary:
Tokaido 東海道 – Major route which connected Edo (Tokyo) and Kyoto during the Edo Period. Before train lines, people traveled on foot or horse. It took days to reach the destination so the travelers required lodging along the way. The Tokaido had 53 towns or stages called shukuba which provided lodging, food, and entertainment.

Shukuba 宿場 – Post town or stage town. Since Shiga is next to Kyoto with both the Nakasendo and Tokaido Roads passing through, there are many shukuba-machi towns. Nakasendo in Shiga includes KashiwabaraSamegaiToriimotoMusaMoriyamaKusatsu, and Otsu. And Tokaido has Tsuchiyama, MinakuchiIshibeKusatsu, and Otsu. The Hokkoku Kaido which goes to the Hokuriku region also has Kinomoto as a post town.

Honjin 本陣 – The main guesthouse in a shukuba for VIPs like daimyo lords, Emperors, etc. Luxurious accomodations on a large plot. There is also the Waki-Honjin which is a second Honjin. In Shiga, the Kusatsu Honjin is the finest example.

「琵琶湖周航の歌」が外国人弁論大会に優勝

2007年2月25日に滋賀県彦根市で開催された「外国人による日本語スピーチ大会」にJamie Thompsonが優勝(最優秀賞)しました。Jamieは、私が作成したこの歌の英語版を歌ってくれた人です。

この大会は、滋賀県内に日本語を勉強している外国人のための日本語弁論大会。今年で3回目。滋賀県知事の代理や、彦根市長、滋賀議員などの来賓も来ました。審査員に國松前知事もいました。残念ながら嘉田知事が来れませんでした。

Jamieのスピーチは、「琵琶湖周航の歌の冒険」でした。歌の英語版に関わった出来事と発表経緯が紹介された。昨年に今津での発表会、CDレコーディング、NHKのど自慢の出場などの話。スピーチは6分しかできないので全部話したかったことができなかったけど、13名のうちになんと優勝!!

表書状、男性用の電子カミソリ、1ケースのビール、カレー、竹生島のクルーズ券、と沢山もろた。

そして総合の評価をした審査員が突然に「一度、例の英語版の歌を歌ってくれないか」と頼まれてちょっとびっくりしたJamieが見事に2番まで歌いました!!僕も泣きそうだった。来場者300人。ホールがいっぱい。

今日の毎日新聞の朝刊の滋賀版にこの弁論大会を大きく報道された。中日新聞も記事が載りました。

http://photoguide.jp/pix/displayimage.php?album=587&pid=17367
http://photoguide.jp/pix/displayimage.php?album=587&pid=17368
http://photoguide.jp/pix/displayimage.php?album=587&pid=17366

そして来週の日曜日(3月4日)に長野県岡谷市の国際交流協会が国際集いを開催します。そこにも現地の一人の女性がこの英語版を歌います。私も出席して歌を紹介します。歌の写真展もやります。
http://www.oiea.jp/jpn/aboutus/other/15thanniversary.htm

*岡谷市は、歌を作詞した小口太郎の故郷です。

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