Sunday, October 16, 2011

Harmony in the Streets

Chindonya in Kawasaki

A Note from Tune Town

Just a stone's throw away from Temple Valley, the concrete canyons of Kawasaki City were alive with the sound of music today. This largely working class town, sandwiched between the brighter urban stars of Tokyo and Yokohama, is becoming something of a mecca for musicians looking for a venue to play. Dubbed Ongaku no Machi, or Music Town, Kawasaki is known for its street troubadour-friendly policies that have struck a chord with the musically inclined and brought a little more harmony to the city. Today this musical municipality celebrated what it calls the Iijan Kawasaki Festival  (whatever that means) and the streets were filled with the sweet sounds of music from a myriad of street performers that was topped off with a thousand savory smells wafting from food stalls that lined the narrow byways that snake toward the city's two main train stations.

Advertising the event were appropriately enough, Japan's traditional chindonya, colorfully attired performers hired to herald the opening of a new shop, a sale and more. A rare sight these days, the chindonya get their name from the sound their instruments make. "Chin" is for the sound of the symbols crashing and "don," the beat of the drum, with "ya" perhaps filling in here as something equivalent to the English suffix "er."

If you're looking for a little bit of harmony, get over to Kawasaki and get in tune with the beat coming from the street.

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