奥能登国際芸術祭(10/22まで開催中!)

奥能登国際芸術祭が石川県の北端にある珠洲市で開催中です。
会期は9月3日~10月22日までの50日間です。
http://oku-noto.jp/

国際芸術祭といえば、日本国内であれば瀬戸内国際芸術祭が何といっても有名でしょう。
以前に旅行で直島や豊島、犬島といった瀬戸内の島々で展開されるアート作品群に魅了された経験がある自分としては、瀬戸内国際芸術祭の総合ディレクターである北川フラムさんが奥能登国際芸術祭でも総合ディレクターを務めるとあって、ずっと楽しみにしていました。

開催直後の先日、珠洲市に行ってきました。


Google Mapのリンク

数字がある場所に作品が設置されています。珠洲市全域でかなり広範に渡っているのがわかります。

金沢から向かうと30番のあたりが珠洲市の入り口になるため、30番の作品がある見附島から鑑賞をスタートしました。

あれ? えらくゴミが流れついてるなと思ったら、これが作品でした。
不思議な光景ですね~

アート作品について細かな説明は野暮だし、ぜひ現地で確かめてほしいので、説明は省略させてもらい、訪れた順番に画像を貼っておきますね。

気になったらぜひとも実際に珠洲市に行ってみてください!

 

一見すると意味不明な印象を受けるかもしれませんが、現地で体感すると印象がガラリと変わるはずです。
実際に現地まで行くことの価値がありますね。

1日で全部を見て回ろう!と意気込んでましたが、半分ほどしか回れませんでした。近いうちに再訪して気になっている作品を全部見てこようと計画中です。

アート作品を見ながら珠洲市内を転々していると、自然と珠洲市への理解が深まって、アートを通じて珠洲市のことが好きになってくるんです。珠洲市には何度も行ったことがありましたが、知らないこと、知らない場所がたくさんありました。
これこそが芸術祭を開催する意義だと思うし、とても素晴らしいことですよね。作品の管理や説明を地元のボランティアの方々が中心になっていて、地元の強いバックアップの基に芸術祭が開催されていることも意義深いと感じました。

昔ながらの景観と豊かな自然が残る珠洲市は、オリジナルな場所だと思うので、芸術祭をきっかけに訪れてファンになる人が増えることを強く願います。

この芸術祭は今後も3年に1回の頻度で開催が決定しています。
アートを通じた地方の活性化が楽しみでなりません。

 

 

中国代表銘茶紹介(一)

鉄観音

特徴:半発酵茶

烏龍茶の一種であります。中国福建省を中心とした地域で生産されています。

効果・効能:抗酸化作用、動脈硬化の予防、二日酔いの改善、脂肪排出効果、ダイエット効果、虫歯予防、糖尿病の予防改善など

プーアール茶

特徴:発酵茶

散茶と緊圧茶(茶葉を圧縮成形して固めた加工されたお茶)の2種類あります。中国雲南省で生産されている黒茶です。

効果・効能:コレステロール値を下げる、ダイエット効果、胃腸の弱さを改善、冷え性の改善、利尿作用、下痢、便秘改善、消炎解熱、抗菌など

武夷岩茶(肉桂)

特徴:半発酵茶

烏龍茶の一種であります。原産地は中国の福建省武夷山です。「健康の宝」とも言われ、高級茶として高い香りを持ち、しっかりした味わいが魅力な銘茶です。

効果・効能:抗酸化作用、免疫力を高める、放射線予防、がんの予防、胃炎予防、下痢止めなど

I Really Like Osaka.

Osaka is easily one of my favorite places in Japan — up until early in the 20th century, it was actually the largest city in Japan (and the bombings it experienced during World War II certainly didn’t help it). What’s perhaps more interesting than its size, though, was its traditional clout: back during the feudal era, the merchant town of Naniwa (its name at the time) was enough of an economic powerhouse that, to no small extent, the city just ignored the shogunate government in Edo (now Tokyo).

Because of its history as a city built on and around business, rather than, say, politics and governance (Edo/Tokyo or Kyoto) or culture (Kanazawa), Osaka developed a reputation for… well, for everything that a city with lots of money and nobody to really answer to would develop a reputation for. In particular, Osaka became a center for both food and entertainment, in addition to commerce.

Even today, Osaka’s place in modern Japanese culture leans heavily toward the entertainment industry. The National Bunraku Theatre, dedicated to bunraku puppetry, is located in Osaka, rather than Tokyo as one might expect of a “national” anything.

Of course, more than highbrow entertainment, Osaka is closely associated with lowbrow popular entertainment. It’s widely regarded as that place you go if you’re an aspiring comedian, and rumor has it that people will even cultivate an Osaka accent as a way to make their way into the comedy world.1 This focus on comedy and showmanship has become a fundamental part of Osaka’s character — I’ve said on numerous occasions, half-jokingly, that while your stereotypical Tokyo resident might want nothing more than to drift, ghostlike and unnoticed, from public transit to their office and back every day for forty years, then retire to the country, the stereotypical Osaka resident doesn’t so much believe as simply knows that they will one day be on TV, so it’s crucial to keep in practice every single day.

This can be seen in parts of casual Osaka culture like nori-tsukkomi, which is essentially an extension of straight man/funny man comedy duo dynamics, where, for example, someone might ask for a bottle opener to open a bottle of beer, in response to which someone might hand them, say, a wrench, and say “here you go.” The proper response to something like this in Osaka is to play along for a moment, pretending to use the wrench (or whatever) as a “bottle opener,” after which point the norm is to react in an exaggeratedly exasperated way to the fact that no, of course it’s not a bottle opener.2

One fun thing about this deep cultural emphasis on comedy is its effect on local marketing:

The tooth is basically shouting

A billboard for a dental clinic. The headline at the top reads, in a thick Osaka accent, “Do you want to get your teeth drilled, or don’t you?” The message below the picture says, “If you don’t want to get your teeth drilled, then take precautions [to prevent cavities]!”

The Osaka police also have some really great marketing as well:

“Even if you can’t transform, you can still be an ally of justice.”

“Ideal job candidate.” (The copy underneath the picture reads, “For people who want to preserve their sense of justice.”)


  1. Interestingly, so far as I’m aware, this particular phenomenon isn’t necessarily limited to Japan: I seem to recall having heard a long time ago of a comedian being given advice by a mentor, who told them to, among other things, work to develop at least a hint of a southern US accent. 
  2. This comes directly from a fantastic episode of the TV show Himitsu no Kenmin Show, a show about unique local differences in various regions of Japan that the locals are often unaware aren’t universal. The example given happened with a hidden camera at a restaurant (and actually kept going), where the waiter would bring out a bottle of beer without an opener, and bring out silly things when customers asked for an opener. Osaka has such a uniquely straightforward and showmanship-oriented culture that Kenmin Show has a segment on it practically every week, with the occasional comparison to how people in Tokyo would react to something like responding to a waitress’s “Have you decided what you’d like?” with “Your phone number” (the answer: with a terrified stony silence descending around the entire table, instead of a laugh and/or a clearly fake response like 110, Japan’s emergency number), or how casually people in Osaka ask about one another’s salary or rent (“It’s like asking someone, ‘Did you watch Kenmin Show last night? What’s your rent?’ Same feeling.”). 

Hello! I’m Greg, an American who has lived in Japan since 2008. I have a tremendous fondness for both reading and writing, which helps out quite a bit in my work as a translator: after all, at its core, the job is built on writing. I’ve always been fascinated with languages, and how they can differ in how they treat even seemingly basic, fundamental things. In particular, there are many common Japanese words that have no good English equivalent, so finding a good way to translate them can be a really interesting challenge.

 

My other hobbies include cooking (Serious Eats is one of my favorite websites, and I cook dinner from scratch nearly every evening), playing games with friends (both tabletop and video games), calligraphy (both English and Japanese, filling an A6 page with some sort of calligraphy practice every day for the past few years), photography, and a long-held interest in computers (as a teenager, I installed operating systems recreationally).

 

I also drink too much oolong tea.