Hikone Castle video

Video link: http://youtu.be/X2uMzVDwe5I

Another video hosted by English-speaking kids. Since two of them were from Hikone, I decided to make a video of Hikone Castle, which I call one of Shiga’s Top Three tourist sights. (The other two being Lake Biwa and Enryakuji temple.)

I tried to make the video as short as possible, but even so, it turned out to be 34 min. Goes to show how much there is to see at Hikone Castle. There’s quite a bit of English text which, if you read, will give you a good primer on what the castle and Hikone lords are about. Besides the castle, I cover official mascot Hiko-nyan, the adjacent Genkyuen Garden and palace, and two autumn castle festivals.

Spent quite a bit of time editing the video. Much of the time was spent reading up (in Japanese of course) on all the castle structures and lords and trying to write explanations as short and concise as possible. In the process, my knowledge of Hikone Castle has expanded.

Tenbin Yagura
Tenbin Yagura (天秤櫓)

One major discovery was a common mistranslation of a key word. Even I had misunderstood and mistranslated this word all these years. That was Tenbin Yagura (天秤櫓). This is a storehouse with two turrets on each end so it looks symmetrical like a “balance scale” as all the English pamphlets and Web pages will tell you. However, this is incorrect.

Tenbin shoulder pole carried by Omi merchant.

Tenbin, in ths case, refers to the shoulder pole for carrying luggage on both ends like this Omi merchant in the photo. It was commonly used even in modern times in rural areas for selling goldfish even.

I hope to spread the word about this longtime mistranslation. This is what happens when a Japanese word has more than one meaning. But I wonder now if the tenbin shoulder pole was actually named after the balance scale. Probably. Or vice versa?

Hikone Castle saw over 700,000 visitors in 2012. This is not the most they ever had, but it’s a good number.

Hope you enjoy my video.

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