03 November 2012

Play that leafy music old boy

Today was National Culture Day in Japan; a day where various places of culture are open to the public free of charge. For example here in Hiroshima today the Contemporary Art Museum, Hiroshima Castle, and Shukkei-en Gardens were free. The place I chose to go get my culture on was the Hiroshima Botanical Gardens which I had previously visited before. The deep and meaningful reason I chose this location over all the other available centres of Japanese culture was that my friend was getting her hair cut nearby and had never been. After waiting an hour for the bus and being dropped off in the wrong location and having to walk back to the entrance (luckily it was a stunning day) we made our way inside. On a large lawn in the centre of the gardens a small festival area had been set up with food and flower themed merchandise for sale, logs on which to practice sawing (?!), a ball pit for children and a small stage with rows of chairs and four elderly gentlemen playing what we at first took for kazoo music.
This is what kazoo music sounds like
We sat down to listen to them play snippets of traditional Japanese tunes when we noticed something amiss. Something green and suspiciously leafy dangling from the mouth of one of the men. They were not playing kazoos, they were in fact playing music on different leaves and blades of grass. In keeping with the botanical theme I can only imagine. It was odd, hilarious, awesome and impressive. Only in Japan.
The man second from the right was the lead... leaf player? leafist?

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Maira Gall