How I Spent My Birthday...

Yesterday, I drove out to Tomiya to meet my pal Dan (the Man) whereupon he kidnapped me and drove me out to a far off land called Touno. (From Wikipedia: T┼Źno is known as "The City of Folklore" for its rural nature, its preservation of traditional culture and especially for the collection of folktales,Touno Monogatari written by Kunio Yanagita in 1910.) Once we arrived, it was cold and cloudy but temperate enough to walk around the Museum grounds. (Spoiler alert: the weather took a turn for the worse.)

Before we found the museum, Dan bought me a Clear File at a very quaint gift shop.

And some cookies!

Outside the shop are a couple of cats.

We discovered the Tono Monogatari Museum and, much to my surprise, I shared my birthday with the gal who sold us our tickets (500 yen each with 10% off thanks to my JAF card.) Upon entry, we were struck by the lavish reproductions of several old folktales. Can you name them all?

This is the most gruesome one about the old lady who cuts out the tongue of a sparrow.

Just what is that Kappa planning to do with that horse's butt?

There are also other stories rendered in carvings.

This is a Jack and the Beanstalk type tale played out via scroll. Watch as Dan scrolls and I impatiently film it.

One of the most interesting bits is this interactive display of iron figures. Touch the iron and an animated shadow play is displayed.

If you click the Museum link above, there's a better less giggly video.

This is another interactive display about Tsubu but I didn't get a good video of it.

A look at the Brothers Grimm and a creepy tengu.

After the museum, we were directed into the family home of folktale storyteller extraordinaire, Kunio Yanagita. Very quaint with a cool look into his family's abode.

I'm a really big fan of his really big fan.

After that we were invited to visit the nearby Municipal Museum for free.

After that we drove to the infamous Kappa Pool. I didn't know what to expect especially since the weather took a turn for the worse and the blustering wind and freezing snow had begun. 

First up, a brief look at the Temple

These guys could really use a paint job.

This is the creepiest shrine ever!


Okay, on to the pool.

A Kool Kappa Karving.

Wait a second, it's only a river.

Oh, now I see it. There's a rod dangling a cucumber as bait hoping to snag an unsuspecting Kappa!

There was a tiny shrine to some old guy, possibly the patriarch of this place.

Oh cool, a female Kappa.

Hold on, is she doing what I think she's doing?

Yes! She's suckling a baby Kappa! (A Kappling?)

I would have loved to have stayed even longer but it just got colder and colder, windier and windier and began to snow. We had a long drive to Morioka and Kitakami to check out the Otaku shops there. (Spoiler alert: it snowed heavily and we narrowly escaped several accidents. Some people weren't so lucky.

I hope to go back in less inclement weather in the spring or summer.


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