Futagawa

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Station #33:  Entertainers traveled Japan's roads alongside government officials long before pilgrimages became fashionable and civilians took to the highways in the late 18th century.  This group of three female musicains are carrying their shamisens, a three-stringed instrument that could be played in many different  styles.  It was frequently used as an accompaniment to chanted legends and for Noh and kabuki plays.  Geisha played shamisen in the highest class tea houses.  Some styles were banned by the government as being too sensual.\n\nImage Copyright: Minneapolis Institute of Art We heard these shamisen musicians perform at the Atsuta Shrine festival.  Both men and women played in this ensemble and they added percussion.  Professionals and amateurs keep the traditional songs alive.  Shamisen music changes rhythm and time frequently, making it hard to score.  Unfortunately we don't know if current performers truly follow Edo traditions. Futagawa has a superb restored honjin, the inns for the daimyo, the top level of the Edo period.  The entrance is off a large walled courtyard that offered privacy and protection to the most important guests. Here the windows are open in the area where luggage was stored at the inn.  At the lower right is a large wooden case that was hung from a pole and carried by two men.  The wood was gorgeous. Who is that resting where the servants entered with the luggage?  The inn has a room full of costumes where visitors could get into the spirit of Edo times.  Mr. Kosaki chose the kimono and accessories of a common traveler.  You can see how large this storage area was.  Daimyo traveled in high style with lots of luxuries. The fusuma (sliding doors) were open to show room after room used for the daimyo's guards and highest samurai.  There is a central corridor where the maids could move between rooms. The daimyo greeted his staff and visitors from a raised platform.  The small lacquer tray was for snacks and the silk pillow is the highest quality.  On the back wall you can see part of a calligraphy scroll in the tokonoma. The proper utensils are ready for a tea ceremony.  Daimyo were great students of the tea ceremony and prided themselves on their knowledge of tea etiquette, ceramics, architecture, flower arranging, calligraphy and incense needed to conduct a tea ceremony appropriate for the guests and the season. The daimyo's rooms are always at the back of the inn for security purposes.  This corridor leads to the garden with a prize pine tree carefully tended to take this graceful curve. Right outside the daimyo's room is a lovely basin and bamboo dipper.  In June, azalea's are prominent in many fine Japanese gardens.  They are set against a simple composition of different textures. The daimyo's bath was quite large with the tub in the center, more than a sword's length from the doors or windows, just in case an intruder got past the guards. Next door to the honjin is a preserved hotogaya, an inn for merchants.  These mannequins show how a dusty traveler would wash their feet before entering the inn.  Futagawa is in an area famous for top quality tea.  Merchants used this inn as their base while they negotiated for the best crops.  If they belonged to the tea merchants association, they got a discount at this inn. Mr. Kosaki and Helen discuss the display that showed a typical meal served at the inn.  This one featured a broiled local fish, pickles, boiled vegetables and lots of rice.  To the side is a smoking set, a small charcoal fire in a ceramic bowl, tobacco and a small pipe.  The Portugese introduced tobacco to Japan in the 1540s. This is the bath for the hotogaya, quite a difference from the honjin next door.  The baths are located next to the kitchen, so that it is easy to transport the hot water to the tub.  Japanese wash outside the tub, then slip into the hot water for a wonderful soak.  Many guests can use the same hot water.