Pickin’ and Grinnin’ at Japanese Culture Days

Experience / Events
Fri, Nov 1, 2019
Pickin' and Grinnin' at Japanese Culture Days

Ever wanted to try your hand at plucking out a traditional Japanese tune on a shamisen? How about practicing your kanji with some calligraphy? Are you the crafty type who’d rather be making your own wooden pendants or chopsticks? Or maybe you want to unleash your inner warrior by wielding a katana on stage for all to see?

If you said yes to any of these, then come on down to Kurassic-kan on Nakamachi Street in Matsumoto City! The Japanese Culture Experience Days are currently being held on select Tuesdays every month.

Kurassic-kan on the left.

Kurassic-kan is an event space on Nakamachi Street that hosts a variety of activities through which visitors from all walks of life can experience Japanese culture. Whether it’s doing origami to fold paper cranes or trying on a fashionable yet traditional kimono, the Japanese Culture Experience Days event offers something for everyone.

A lovely performance of song and dance.

You can also view the experiences if you don’t wish to participate. An impromptu dance performance accompanied by two shamisen players took place.

Despite the rainy weather this past Tuesday, I tried my hand at two of the events: playing the shamisen and folding paper cranes with origami.

Maintaining an upright position with the thumb is most important!

The shamisen produces a tone altogether different from what we hear in Western music. Instead of a pick, shamisen players use a large, white object called a bachi to play its Eastern scales. Having played guitar for many years, I found it quite easy to pick up the shamisen and was playing Sakura in no time at all. Newcomers will find the experience fun, challenging, and sonically invigorating.

The folding begins.

Next I attempted to fold a paper crane at the origami table. Attempt being the key word… I’m terrible at folding things, but it was still quite fun to learn from a master. Renzuru, or joined cranes, is a traditional origami fold that dates back to the Edo Period.

Success! Kind of.

The next Japanese Culture Experience Day will be held on November 12th. Be sure to drop by Kurassic-kan and try your hand at some Japanese crafts, wearing traditional clothing, or putting on a musical performance!