#38 Masuda Station / 益田駅

Ben and Caroline in front of Masuda Station.

Today I learned how to buy a train ticket at Masuda station.  I can go many places from Masuda by train.  Caroline recommended the train ride from Masuda to Hagi because it is along the Sea of Japan. The San-in Line must be beautiful because it runs along the coast.  I can take many day trips from Masuda to places such as Hagi, Tsuwano and Hamada.  I’m not sure where I want to go first, but I’m looking forward to my next day trip!   –

run along – 走りに沿って
coast  – 海岸、沿岸
day trip – 明るい時の旅

Ben and Caroline looking at the map of Masuda.


#37 Shimanekko / シマネッコ

Shimanekko merchandise that you can buy.

Today, Caroline and I saw her favorite character, Shimanekko! Shimanekko is the mascot of all of Shimane. You can find him at many different events everywhere in Shimane! There is also a lot of Shimanekko merchandise you can buy! I got a key ring with him on it. Many people love Shimanekko. He even has his own song and dance! I want to learn how to do it someday! –

merchandise – 商品

Ben and Caroline love Shimanekko!


#36 Masuda Omiyage/ 益田のお土産

Ben and Caroline are looking at the Masuda Omiyage.

Today I learned about the Japanese custom of giving omiyage.  When Japanese people go on trips, they usually buy omiyage to give to their friends and family at home.  Usually they are sweets that are special to the area, but sometimes people give other foods.   We don’t have such a custom in America.  I was surprised to see that most of the boxes have more than eight different sweets!   I also learned that you give them to your colleagues if you miss a day of work.  I love learning about different Japanese customs.

such a custom


Ben and Caroline are trying some omiyage that is made in Masuda!


#35 Iwami Kagura Music / 神楽囃子

Ben and Caroline are talking about using the drums.

I learned about Iwami Kagura music.  There are four types of instruments in Iwami Kagura music: a large and small taiko drum, a flute and cymbal.  Usually a kagura dance is about 30-45 minutes long, so the musicians have to play for a long time.  I learned that there are kagura clubs in elementary and junior high schools, so some of the kagura players have been playing since they were very young!  I’m looking forward to watching more kagura plays!

musicians  –  (ここでは)囃子手
elementary school –  小学校
junior high school  – 中学校

Caroline is being taught how to use the finger symbols.


#34 Iwami Kagura Stories / 石見神楽挿話

Caroline and Ben are looking at the different Kagura masks.

I learned a little about the meaning of Iwami Kagura.  There are over 100 different stories. In Masuda, there are many different Kagura groups. They usually perform at festivals, shrines and kagura events.  Iwami Kagura is special because each play is very distinct, but has a classical story. They are performed with elegance. Today,  I watched Orochi. I thought the story was easy to understand and the dance was very exciting!

classical story

performed with elegance

Ben is getting help putting on the orochi mask.


#33 Iwami Kagura Costumes / 石見神楽の装束

Ben is trying on a kagura costume!

Today I learned about the different costumes and masks of Iwami Kagura from Mr. Fujihara and Mr. Ishika.  The most famous character in Iwami Kagura is called Orochi, an evil serpent.  The costumes are very beautiful and colorful. However they look very heavy!  Some costumes weigh over 15kg!  I also saw many different masks for the different characters.  The masks are usually made from paper or wood.  They are all hand-made.  I’m enjoying learning about Iwami Kagura!   -Ben-

Kagura Costume.


costumes  – 衣装、装束
evil serpent  – 悪魔退治
weight  – 重さ
hand-made  – 手作り


#32 Kogawa Garden / 小河庭園

The entrance of Kogawa garden.

I went to visit the Kogawa garden with Caroline and Mrs. Kogawa.  The garden was amazing!   The stones from the awa region in Shikoku are beautiful.  The garden is mostly a stone garden so, it looks good anytime of the year.  Mrs. Kogawa told me that it looks best when the stones with moss grown are wet.   I’m very happy that I got to see another Japanese garden in Masuda!   -Ben-

Bridge in Kogawa garden.


stone garden  – 石庭

Caroline and Ben in Kogawa garden.