Monday I went to the Ainu Museum in Shiraoi. It is about an hour on the express train. Take a local train and lord knows how long it would take. I got to the station early, as is my wont; so early that I had to find something to do. Subway & train stations are no longer such a big deal in the U.S., but in civilized countries they are happening places. They seemingly go on forever and ever under the surface. That morning at about 9: 54, I was at the right place. Not many shops were open in this corridor. There were a few customers waiting outside of shops, with salespeople standing politely on the other side of the doors. As I progressed down the corridor some salespeople would walk out and bow to me. (A lot of bowing happens in this country.) Then I noticed the music - happy music. Now I was at the end of the corridor, about to go through the double-glass doors to find an ATM machine. A little voice on my right shoulder said, "Hang-out for a minute." I heard and obeyed. It was astounding. The music got louder and happier. All the rolling metal doors of the shops started going up; happy sales people came into the corridors, smiling and bowing to no one in particular; a guard came, opened a big door to a side corridor, saluted to no one in particular, but didn't smile. (The guards and cops here don't smile.) At 10:01 the music stopped, the sales people shouted and waved to each other across the corridor and disappeared into their shops. It is one of my goals to video tape this scene.
|An early morning cooking class. Note the pink mixers.
|Everyone is happy.
|From the train. Getting the sense of being on an island.
|My train leaving me at Shiraoi. The JR ticket agent in Sapporo warned me, "You have to be careful in Shiraoi; not too many trains. If you miss your train, you will be there for a long time."
|The pedestrian overpass.
|From whence I came.
|These horns are for either earthquake or big wave warnings, probably both.
|The Ainu Museum compound.
|Lake Poroto. The museum is on its banks.
|Structure for storing food.
|Cage for the bear cub traditional kept by the family.
|Carved from branches.
|Fiber from trees for various products.
|These garments are made from tree fiber.
|Our M.C. for the show.
|A dancek_it must have had to do with birds. As the talk was in Japanese, I could only guess at what was going on.
|A hunting dance.
|Mouth harp performance. I bought one.
|A lute of some sort. I didn't buy one, though they had one for sale.
|The final dance.
|Food for next winter.
|They used these to punish people. Good lord!
|The local brew. Tasty, very bitter.
|The Ainu have a thing for bears...
|A totem. The light wasn't right no matter where I stood.
|Another plank path.
|So many little signs telling about the trees that no one will ever read because you are supposed to stay on the plank path. Things like this are starting to strike me as very Japanese.
|The overpass again.
|From the overpass, looking for my ride home.
|They have a thing for green here.
|A sea wall? I guess it might help.
|A wild dog of some sort. Haven't been able to find anything on them. Looks like a coyote to me, but they are supposed to be "new world" creatures.
|My ride home.
There will be film at 11:00 of the performances, but 11:00 may be a long time coming.