Monday, November 14, 2016

The Experience of Oga Peninsula (Millie)

The weather becomes colder and colder. Autumn has come, the leaves turn yellow and to leave his motherland. Although the weather is cold in this week, the campus is full of vigor and vitality. Yes, that is because of AIU Festival. I spend the whole day enjoying the festival: listening to the concert, eating the delicious food and even joining the games with my friends. But, that is not enough. I have something more important to do – go to the field trip with Furukawa Sensei (and three other professors from Beloit).

Our destination was Oga. However, our first stop was Ogata which located in northwestern Akita Prefecture. Ogata was a beautiful, quiet Japanese town. I could see thousands of scarlet sage along the path.
Scarlet sage, photo by Millie
Firstly, we went to the Seitaikei Park to enjoy nature. The park was quite big, to follow the schedule; we didn’t stay for a long time. However, the scenery here is as beautiful as a landscape painting.
Seitaikei Park, photo by Millie
After visiting the Park, by 15 minutes walking, we arrived the Polder Museum of Ogata-mura. Here, I finally knew that this village consists entirely of land reclaimed from the Lake Hachirogata!! That surprised me a lot for its history and geographical theories. We watched the special movie introduction about this place from different aspects, such as nature, rice farming, wild birds, and even the life experience of local people, etc. It was interesting because you can learn a lot though this visiting process; especially one of the professors is from the geology department.
Sea level small "mountain," photo by Millie
As a consequence of lake reclamation, the mostly village is below sea level.

After the trip of Ogata, we came to our second stop – NAMAHAGE Museum. Here was the place where you can explore a wide variety of different Namahages from various part of Oga. There were different versions of the legends of Oga’s Namahage, but the main idea was “the Namahage threatens to tear off the spots as a form of punishment” (Foster reading) for people’s laziness. “Namahage is indeed always associated with the dead of winter “and “New Year’s Eve.” In the Densho Hall, we watched the authentic story of the Namahage. In order to experience more about Namahage, Professor Pablo and I changed into a Namahage! 

Namahage costume, photo by Furukawa-sensei
In a very traditional house, there was a show about Namahage. The performance was humorous; it was all about the banter between the Namahage and the household head. By entering the household, the Namahage’s task is to frighten the children. (Foster) One of the children cried actually. However, by avoiding influence other audience, the mother finally chose to leave the house to comfort baby. This point seemed to be a little confusion to me because it was not unusual for the frightened children to run and cry. In general, it was a great show although I couldn’t fully understand what they said in Japanese.
Namahage performance, photo by Millie
Finally, we saw the sea in Oga Peninsula. Probably because of autumn, the seaside temperature is lower than the land temperature on average. I felt my body was almost frozen with the cold wind. However, the sea still looks quite beautiful. On the return trip, passing through the top of the mountain, I could clearly see the whole view of Akita Prefecture. That was incredible to compare this view with the map which I saw in the museum. As a student, I learned a lot through this trip. Enjoy not only the view of this journey, but also some specified knowledge from each professor.
The sea, photo by Millie

1 comment:

Hannah said...

I had an opportunity to go see a bunraku play with members of the club I joined but scheduling conflicts and ticket confusion put a stop to that. The Namahage sounds super fun though, glad you got to go!