Jan 30, 2012

The Epilogue of Kakunodate Winter Storytelling : Stick Around for A Quick Tour in The Samurai House !

Kakunodate Fuyuagtari  inspires you and takes you on a time travel within half an hour! When the session is over, don't just leave the house yet : Stick around for another quick tour of the Samurai House! Another experienced guide will show you how the wisdom and ingenuity of our predecessors have been excised in such simple housing architecture.

The Iwahashi Residence (岩橋家)
The house has two entrances for different purposes – one for daily use, and the other for the guests on special occasion. The family members and friends entered from the larger entrance with 3 sides facing individual rooms for different ranking in the family.

The place where the father used to sit,
from which he could directly see the gate.

Father was the highest rank in the family, then followed sons, mothers, and daughters. The place designated for the headmaster was the corner of the back room near the irori fireplace, from which he could directly see through the gate, so he could identify the visitor to secure the family safety.

Shitomido (蔀戸)

Before the modern heating technology was invented, warming up the house was much easier than cooling (“You can only remove so many cloths to cool down.”), so that the windows are wide and made easily removable – as in Shitomido, a type of traditional window dating back to the Heian era.

The door (seen in the picture left) opens horizontally in the middle and the upper half is supported by the hook hung from the ceiling. The lower part is removable.

From this window, the family could see the castle on top of the nearby mountain that we know today as "Koshiroyama" (古城山) meaning "the old castle mountain."
Fire was the most important yet dangerous thing to handle, so that it was the father’s responsibility to extinguish at the end of each day.

The humorous experienced guide
The guide said, “Have you seen a train worker making a salute-like hand gesture on seeing off a train? That’s not just to signal to other workers, but also to himself in order to assure the safety on the high-risk task.”

“So, here is what the father used to do.” Sitting across the fire place, the guide took the chopsticks and drew lines on the ash along the four edges.

“These are the ways for the god of fire, and now I make a cross with these sticks facing north to prevent him from entering, then with this,” inserting a spatula perpendicularly in the between, he continued “I securely seal his entrance. Now, see how it looks like: It looks like the kanji character of 'water' (水)."

Everybody leaned to take a look and exclaimed in awe. "This was a magical spell practiced by the master of the house in order to assure that he completed his task for the family safety.”

Can you see it?
The sticks and spatula look like the character, water (水)!
 Kakunodate Winter Storytelling at the Iwahashi Residence is FREE. During the campaign, you are allowed to enter the house, which is not allowed otherwise. Please check the details from the link and join to learn more about the beautiful town!

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