In my last post, I added this youtube video as a visual aid.
Then, one of the readers asked me why the girl on the left gave a card after she took the first card. So, I will explain what is going on in this video.
In the Hyakunin Isshu Karuta game,  you put 25 cards in your area, and the other player puts also 25 cards in his/her area. When a "reader" reads out a poem, you take the card which the poem is written on, as soon as possible. If you can take it before the other player, the card is yours.
Usually, it is much easier to take a card in your own area because you can put the cards as you like, and the cards are closer to you than the other player. And when you have taken all the cards in your area and made it empty, you win.
But of course, you can take a card from the other player's area if you can reach it faster. In this case, it is not fair if the number of the cards in your opponent's area reduces, and yours stays the same.
So, you can choose a card that you don't like, and give it to the other player. As a beginner, I always give a card that I can't recall fast. But I have heard that experts give their favorite cards so that you can reach it faster than the other player.
Anyway, this is why the girl on the left gave a card to the other player.

By the way, the girl on the left was a challenger, and the girl on the right was a "queen". She protected her throne in these games, so she is still a "queen". Actually, I don't like to call her a "queen". This is a traditional game in which thousand years old poems are read. Why do they use English word instead of some other term such as "kisaki" or "hime" which mean queen and princess in Japanese?   


It was miserable.

As I wrote the day before yesterday, I and my wife confronted my daughter in Hyakunin Isshu Karuta game yesterday.

In short, we lost.
And it was miserable.

We took 16 cards, and my daughter took 33. Two grown up adults were beaten by an elementary school girl.

I had known that she was practicing every day, so, I gave up to remember all of the cards, but concentrated to the 76th cards to the 100th. I managed to learn those cards by heart before the battle started. (By the way, we used only the cards from the 51st to the 100th.)

When the game started, I and my wife sat side by side, and my daughter sat in front of us. She put the 25 cards in front of her, while I put 13 cards in front of me, and my wife put 12 cards in front of her. My wife was supposed to take the cards from the 51st to the 75th. As I mentioned above, I was responsible for the cards from the 76th to the 100th. All of the 13 cards in front me were included in those 25 cards.

Half of the cards out of 50 cards were in my daughter's area, and I gave up to take my responsibility for the cards in her area, because I was quite sure that she will take the cards before I can reach out to her area. So, I concentrated to the 13 cards in front of me.

But she was fast. It was amazing.

Sometimes, I didn't even hear anything before she took the card in the deepest low of my area. But after the card was taken, I heard the voice of an APP read out the exact poem that she took.

Well, of course I feel proud of her as a father, but in fact, I can not deny that I am thinking on how to beat her in the next match.

(The video below was taken at the Competitive karuta Queen Match 2016)


The battle with my daughter

(photo by Ceridwen)

Tomorrow,  I will fight my daughter in Hyakunin-isshu Karuta battle.

Hyakunin-isshu is an anthology of 100 tanka by 100 authors. Tanka is a style of Japanese poem which consists of 31 syllables.  "Hyakunin" means 100 people, and "Isshu" means one tanka. So, Hyakunin-Isshu means 100 poets with one tanka each. Those poems were written from the seventh to the thirteenth centuries.

Hyakunin-Isshu Karuta is a Karuta game in which players take a card as fast as they can, after "Yomite" or a reader reads out one of the poems. On the cards, only the second halves of the poems were written, so, you have to learn all the poems by heart.

In Budapest Japanese School where my kids study, they hold annual Hyakunin Isshu Karuta tournament. They use only 50 tankas every year, but they switch the tankas every year. So, If you study in this school for two years, you will learn all the 100 tankas. Last year, they chose from the first tanka to 50th tanka, so they are going to choose from the 51st to the 100th this year.

My daughter is really into this game, so I wanted to help her to get used to it. I am not going to take a part in the tournament in her school, of course,  but she can practice with me and my wife at home.

Actually, my daughter is much better than I, so,  I have given up from the 51st to the 75th, and decided to  concentrate from the 76th to the 100th only. I asked my wife to learn from the 51st to the 75th. Tomorrow, I make a team with my wife, and confront my daughter. I'm not sure if we can win, but we will do our best.


Kawagoe festival

”UNESCO heritage list adds 33 Japanese festivals as single entry”

I am very happy to hear this news. I don't know the detail yet, but I am sure that Kawagoe festival is included in the 33 festivals.

Kawagoe festival is one of the three major float festival in Japan. I can't recall one of them, but the other is Gion festival in Kyoto.

In Kawagoe, we had a float for each district. My house was in Oute-machi district, so, I pulled the float with other people who lived in Oute-machi. It was the best opportunity to communicate with my neighbors, since some of them were very busy with their daily business. There are almost thirty districts in Kawagoe City, so you can see lots of floats in the festival.

An elementary school girl lived just next to my house with her family, and she had been practicing the bamboo flute all through the year. Sometimes I could hear her practicing in her house. And her most important occasion to perform her bamboo flute was the Kawagoe festival.

During the festival, kids played traditional dance music with bamboo flutes and Japanese drums on the moving float with kids who dance to their music in their traditional costumes.

Our kids were too small to dance or to play musical instruments, but if they had been old enough, they would have insisted to perform in the Kawagoe festival. I feel sorry that I left Kawagoe eight years ago. I miss the City even now.

The festival is held in October every year. If you have a chance I strongly recommend you to visit and see this festival. If you are interested, you can read further information from the official web page.