2019.04.30 Fram Column 03: Last Day of the Heisei Era

Five days have passed since the Triennale started, and it’s off to a good start. Here are a few highlights from the opening events on Shamijima and at Uno Port.

On Shamijima, five troupes of lion dancers, one each from the five islands of Yoshima district (Hitsuishijima, Iwagurojima, Yoshima, Seijima, and Shamijima), battled Godzilla. It was a very popular event with the mayor of Sakaide and his family, dressed as samurai, also getting in on the action. Sakaide city was quick to understand the significance of the Triennale, and it makes me happy to see it moving in a positive direction.

Meanwhile, at Uno Port, the participation of groups from seven high schools including Tamamo, Kurashiki, and Okayama high schools, deserves special mention. It made me want to get more involved with high school students.

From tomorrow, I’ll be away again for business again, but I’ll return to Setouchi on May 5 to participate in the “Go with Fram Kitagawa! A Night of Kinema and Music in Yashima.” This is a bus tour that leaves from Takamatsu Port (capacity 40 people, 8,000 yen/person) with a stop at The Kagawa Museum to take in the spring exhibition, “Amazing Graphics in the Edo Period.” This consists of works taken from the illustrated natural history books of the ruling Matsudaira clan. From there, we’ll head over to the outdoor folk history museum, Shikokumura, where we will enjoy silent films with live musical accompaniment. The films are Kid Commotion (Japan 1935) produced by Shochiku Kamata Film Studio and directed by Torajiro Saito, Chasing Choo Choos (1927 USA), and Kokushimuso (1932 Japan) starring Mansaku Itami, Chiezo Kataoka, and Isuzu Yamada. Live music will be provided by Raiko Sakamoto and a band of musicians that are in charge of the music for Idaten, the NHK historical drama. We’ll be eating at Waraya, a famous noodle shop near the venue. It promises to be a fun event so come and join us.

On the last day of the Heisei Era, I went to Megijima for Movie Night at Island Theatre Megi. The movie, The Tokyo Night Sky Is Always the Densest Shade of Blue, stars Shizuka Ishibashi who will also perform in Christiaan Bastiaans’ Valuable Cargo, a performance on the theme of Hansen’s disease which will be shown in the fall session. Conducted by Yuya Ishii, the film is an interpretation of a collection of poetry by Tahi Saihate. The content of the film is completely different from the poems―for one thing, the main characters in the film and their stories, do not even exist in the anthology―yet the way the film captures the sense of isolation, despair, and resultant hope conveyed by the poems is truly impressive.

When I learned that Yuya Ishii also directed the film The Vancouver Asahi [about a Japanese-Canadian baseball team in the 1930s], it made perfect sense. He has a knack for portraying an era from the perspective of workers on the bottom rung of society. It’s a delight to see the emergence of such a long-awaited talent.

After the event, we enjoyed a meal by Eat & Art Taro at Iara, and everyone went home satisfied.

The menu for this particular day included:
Lemonade made with Kagawa lemons
Spanish mackerel grilled with homemade mayonnaise
Grilled spring vegetables
Smoked Spanish mackerel milt
Wind-cured, braised pork belly (chashu)
Soboro-topped rice
Iara cookies
Iara blend home-roasted coffee

The food at Iara is delicious this year, too.