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Update from Coordinator for International Relations May 2018・国際交流員日記5月2018年

印刷ページ表示 更新日:2018年6月8日更新

Getting your library card at Date City Library ・ 伊達市図書館で図書館カードをゲットする方法 2018年5月17日

Date City’s main library is a huge facility, with a children’s area, private study rooms and individual desks. It’s a quiet, comfortable place to get some work done or to visit with the family. Anyone who lives, works, or attends school in Date City, or who lives in Fukushima City or Date-gun can register for a library card!


伊達市図書館 伊達市図書館Foreign Language Section

Maybe you’re uncertain about the Japanese language application. Well, problem solved!


First, you can get an application form from a librarian at the counter. Then, fill it out on the desk across from there. There is a Japanese example on that desk for you to look at. When you apply, don’t forget to bring something to verify your address (residence card, driver's license, insurance card, etc.). And if you need help, the librarians will be able to help you. 


Once you have your library card, you can borrow a book  (up to 5 per 2 weeks) or CD/DVD (up to 2 per week) by bringing them to the front desk with your card. You will receive a yellow note stamped with the due date of your item. If you can't find the book you're looking for, you can use the library's retrieval program or search for it using the library's website, but please feel free to ask the librarians for help.

If you don’t return it to Date City Public Library, one of the four community centers throughout Date City, or leave it in a Book Return Box before that time, you won’t be able to borrow additional books. And if you lose or damage the item, you’ll have to pay for it, so please be careful while enjoying your new library life!



Hakozaki's Historic Lion Dance ・ 箱崎の歴史的な獅子舞 2018年5月10日 


The festival held in Date City’s village of Hakozaki is one of the most unique experiences the city has to offer. What’s more is that it’s a genuinely fun time – both a lesson in local culture and local humor.

Upon arriving at the base of Mt. Atago on April 29th, visitors are offered a free ride up the incredibly steep slope in a shuttle bus driven by volunteers. The festival is at the very top; a number of colorful stands peddling food, drinks, games, and more surrounding the Atago Shrine. There is also a tower from the top of which you can see the entire valley.



伊達町   伊達町

The main event is the the Hakozaki shishimai, or lion dance. First performed nearly 500 years ago, the shishimai has reportedly remained unchanged year after year. It was supposedly created by a young man named Sasara, who was responsible for protecting the nearby fields from wild animals that would eat the produce before harvest. An old man named Hanpei told Sasara about lion dances and claimed that if he and the villagers performed one at the local shrine, the animals would stay away. So Sasara traveled and studied lion dances all over Japan before finally the dance that continues to be performed in Hakozaki today.


獅子舞   獅子舞

A number of dance routines are performed during the festival, each meant to convey a story. For example, I arrived in time to see their performance of Kakeai no Mai or “The Engagement Dance.” As it happens, many of the local festival-goers who watch the shishimai every year have no idea what the stories are about. They enjoy them for the skill and endurance of the dancers and musicians. Fortunately, I know someone who plays the flute in accompaniment to the dancers and is well-informed about the festival. He explained the story behind The Engagement Dance to me beforehand:

Three lions, one female and two male (two long striped feathers on the top of their heads identify the male lions) are led in a procession by two masked characters. The first is an elderly character, wearing an okina mask and hitting a drum. He is said to represent Hanpei. The second is a clownish character wearing a hyottoko mask, meant to represent Sasara. During the dance, two of the lions fall in love but are separated when the third, one of the male lions, grows jealous. The two male lions fight and the jealous lion eventually topples the other. Sasara tries to encourage the defeated lion, and feeds it a flower. Then Hanpei helps the three lions to reunite and they live happily ever after.



The dancers themselves practice for 10 days before the festival and then, on the 30th, they parade around Hakozaki. From seven in the morning to eight at night, the dancers and flutists take turns performing as they visit various private homes, stores, and community centers. They then return to Fukugon Temple, meaning that the festival begins at a Shinto shrine on the 29th and ends at a Buddhist temple on the 30th. The integration of these two religions alone makes the festival is an interesting product of local culture but the effort put into keeping the tradition alive is what makes it really worth seeing.


Plus, you’ll be blessed with good luck if you get bitten by one of the lions after the performance!


Take the Abukuma train to Mukaisenoue station and Mt. Atago (Atagoyama) is a short walk away. The entrance to Atago Shrine that is accessible by shuttle bus on the same road as Date City Public Library. The shishimai typically lasts from 10am to 5pm at Atago Shrine on the 29th.



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