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Saturday, September 08, 2007

Parasol performance


Typhoon Fitow
has well and truly gone, leaving in its wake glorious sunshine and even a hint of cool breezes.

I spent the afternoon in two parks in Tokyo’s Hamamatsu area: the immaculately manicured Kyu-Shiba-rikyu Gardens, and then, fifteen minutes walk away, the sprawling, grandiose Hama-rikyu Gardens with their moat, multitude of vistas, and teeming wildlife.

Towards 3pm in Hama-rikyu Gardens, a public announcement was made about a performance taking place near the 300-Year Pine. I wandered over, past the spectacular Flower Field and over to the massive ancient pine, propped up on stilts almost like an oversize vine.

There in front of it, sure enough, was a pair of young women in yukata, and a shamisen player. They were a traditional juggling act, but using parasols. Balls, metal rings, tea cups, even wooden sake box-cups, were thrown on top of whirling paper parasols and expertly manipulated to the awe of the small crowd that gathered.

It was all in the spirit of humor, and the women kept up a lively patter between themselves and with the audience to the droll twang of the shamisen in the background.

Check out the YouTube video above (or a shorter version in the Movies section of JapanVisitor.com) of the parasol antics I took of the parasol acrobats/jugglers for consummate skill performed with smiles and laughter in lush greenery under a perfect blue sky.

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