The project surprised me much, to be honest, it was more than I expected.
In short, the entire staff of Manyo Park as families who hosted us are very warm and welcoming, responsible and respectful. Every day had something new and exciting to do.
In the park, although the first activity in the morning was the same, after these, the estaff always had something else to do or always had a new place to show us.
I am very grateful to Manyo Park for giving me the opportunity to belong to this project, for having chosen such a beautiful family for staying and for giving me the opportunity to visit many places in Japan, its history and those unforgettable moments together with other volunteers. Among the places we visited were of course Masuda and surroundings, also went to Izumo, Tsuwano and Hiroshima. If we were with the staff or with the host family, we had the opportunity to visit many places in each of these cities as museums, aquariums, shops of all kinds, restaurants, rivers, beaches, temples, architecture, people, in order there are so many things I could see, feel, smell, touch and ultimately enjoy both Manyo Park and the host family have made this an unforgettable experience.
One of the events that surprised me most was the Iwami Kagura. I have to say first that fortunately were part of the staff and this gave us the opportunity to interact with people who attended the event, meet the organizers and actors and obviously, we could see the show.
about the show I can not say more than: It was amazing! At all times the people who were present were always alert to what was going on. I think for me, a major part of the show was that the actors interacted with the audience (adults and children), their clothes were amazing! Although the scenery was simple, I never felt it to be poor or sad, because the musicians along with their melodies and voices, and the entire cast in general were doing something wonderful this show.
Something I really admire about Japan in general is that it has many green areas, lots of vegetation and beautiful animals. And of course, Masuda is not the exception.
All nature has Shimanee especially Masuda have really captivated me.
If something enjoyment Masuda, was that everywhere can see green areas; trees and flowers of all sizes and colors, and even all this flora gives the air Masuda, a special smell.
Masuda is like coming to reacquaint with old Japan but living it more modern.
Masuda town is small. However there is everything that person need for comfortable living: schools, stadiums, big stores and little shops, café and restaurants, many trees, parks and, of cause, Japanese sea with long clean sand beach and seawater, that often change its color and power. Masuda is greatly differs from Russians small towns, where people often have no opportunity to go to the theatre or go in for sports at the stadium. And there in Masuda live very kind, opened heart people, who certainly help you in any case.
I think it is really grate to live and work in Masuda.
During our staying at Masuda we saw interesting exhibition of Japanese goods designed in 50-60 years of 20 century, such as clothes, cars, motorcycle, home appliances and others.
We went to local planetarium and enjoying stars sky.
One of the most unforgettable was appearance of Iwami Kagura theatre (traditional Japanese theatre). Iwami Kagura is some kind of ritual dancing, where artists performs characters of ancient Japanese mythology. Their dresses is unique for European’s, but I really liked the show. My favorite character is “OROCHI”, that mean “Big snakes”. He is big and have a fearful mask, and when little children saw his figure they always start crying and parent’s try to calm they down.
During the project we even was broadcast by the local Japanese tv-channel.
I think that Masuda is one of the most wonderful place in Japan and I left there a piece of my soul.
Besides we visited Izumo town. Izumo is means “Stakes clouds”. And it is true. Beautiful place, it is situated between high mountains covered with fog. All the way I was enjoying the views. Saw and walking around one of the most old Sinto Shraine in Japan called Izumo Taishya. Priest of Izomo shrine was so kind and told us history of this place and clearly, in details explained the difference between Buddhism and Sinto. After that we visited Shimane Museum of Ancient Izumo. If you want to know old Japanese life style, what did they eat many years ago, what did they wear, how did they build their houses and shrines – the answers for all this questions are gathered in this Museum and Shimane prefecture.
After this interesting journey it became clear that Shimane Prefecture is the place, where Japanese history and culture live even in now days!
We experienced a lot of precious events and I knew that most of the events are traditional and historical because Shimane is called “the place of gods”.
For example, we went to Kakinomoto shrine to see the dedication of a marathon event because Manyo Park is the The priest prayed for safety of runners. Yuliya and Jessica saw it for the first time and they were so excited! Surprisingly, a local TV program came and we were interviewed!! It was also interesting and exciting when we watch the program.
On the other day, we went to Izumo shrine and a Shimane Museum of Ancient Izumo. Izumo shrine is called “the shrine of much destiny”. In the shrine, we learned about shrine, gods and myth from the priest because he is a friend with Yuliya’s host family, Ishida san. It was valuable for me too.
We went to a cultural center of Masuda, named Grand Toit to know old Japan, especially about Masuda. We were also planning to join “3,000 bamboo lantern event”(for celebrate one of the traditions) in Manyo Park, but it was canceled because of typhoon. Instead of that, we joined beer festival in a museum. We wore Manyo kimono(much older than usual kimono) and walked around. It was also good experience to wear kimono and talked to people.
One of the most exciting things was traditional show in Iwami region, “Iwami Kagura”. Despite Japanese, I was likely to go to the unique world of Kagura. There are a lot of stories of Kagura and all of the stories are about Japanese mythology. The music, the way playing and dancing are so dynamic! My heart was pounding during the show! It’s a regional show but I hope all Japanese people could watch it! Of course foreigners too!
And the best attraction of Masuda is “natural beauty”. There were a lot of famous people such as poet, designer and artist from Masuda. In my personal opinion, the reason why these artistic people existed is the beautiful nature. On the first day when I arrived at Shimane, somehow I just imagined how people lived long time ago because I could see beautiful mountains, traditional orange colored roof with tiles of houses and old shopping district. It’s totally different from my city and I really love it. I hope I could see the scenery forever.