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On June 16, 2007, Imazu marked the 90th anniversary of the song by organizing a boat cruise on Lake Biwa and other events. Omi-Imazu Station had a sign directing guests to Imazu Port. 90周年の記念「琵琶湖周航クルーズ」の近江今津駅内
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Imazu Port. A large crowd of people waiting to board the chartered boat for a 3-hour cruise on Lake Biwa to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the song, Biwako Shuko no Uta.
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The "Rio Grande" cruise boat awaits at Imazu Port on a miraculously sunny day during the rainy season. 梅雨でありながら、奇跡的にこんないい天気になった。今津港
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Reception desk for passengers. A little over 100 people joined the cruise. クルーズの受付
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Boarding time at Imazu Port. In the forefront is a song monument for Biwako Shuko no Uta.
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Megan and Jamie Thompson about to board the boat. トンプソン姉妹
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Boat name "Rio Grande" operated by Biwako Kisen. Named after Shiga's sister state in Brazil. There is also the "Michigan" paddlewheel boat named after Shiga's sister state in the USA.
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Inside the front of the Rio Grande boat. 琵琶湖周航クルージング
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Open deck at the rear. The boat departed at about 11:30 am.
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We passed by various scenic spots such as Shirahige Shrine, noted for the torii gate in the lake.
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Shirahige Shrine 白髭神社
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Shirahige Shrine torii as seen from the cruise boat.
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Omi-Maiko with green pines on white sands. 近江舞子の「松は緑に 砂白き」
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Omi-Maiko appears in the song.
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Rolling with the waves
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Okino-shiraishi Rocks, a favorite resting place for birds which turned the rocks white from bird droppings. Four rocks stand 80 meters deep in the lake. Out of the water, the tallest stands 14 meters high. 沖の白石
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So what does "Coral shrine" mean in the song? (There's no coral in the lake.) "I think it just refers to a beautiful place..." 「珊瑚の宮」はどういう意味?
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We landed on Chikubushima for about an hour. Jamie and Megan also sang in English in front of the Verse 4 song monument.
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Jamie and Megan Thompson sing in English in front of the Verse 4 song monument, Chikubushima. Next time we need to have an amplifier.
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Jamie and Megan Thompson sing in English in front of the Verse 4 song monument, Chikubushima. They sang up to Verse 4. ジェイミーとメゲン・トンプソン姉妹が歌う
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The man holds the 90th Anniversary tour sign as a guide for the tour guests.
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Getting back on the boat. Little over a hundred people came on this cruise. If people knew it was gonna be such a beautiful day during this rainy season, more would have certainly come.
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Sachiko Tsuji, the MC, interviews the sisters before they sang on the boat. 自動販売機前でインタービュー。船内の客は姉妹の顔や姿がほとんど見えへん。
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Jamie and Megan Thompson sing in English while cruising on Lake Biwa. 船の真ん中で歌って自動販売機がバックになって最悪。客に背中を向くばかりで申し訳ない。船の一番前に歌いたいと頼んだけど...
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After they sang, there was a mad rush to buy the CD priced at 800 yen. 英語版CDの購入者が殺到。
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Then they signed autographs on the CD. CDのサインを求める。
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More autographs. 姉妹はやはり人気者。
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Newspaper reporters ask questions. A nice article about the cruise and the sisters appeared in the Kyoto Shimbun the next morning.
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Water lilies. The melody of the song originally came from a song called "Hitsuji-gusa" which means water lilies.
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Water lily (Hitsuji-gusa). ひつじぐさ
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After the boat cruise, there was a walking tour of Imazu. A special exhibition was held at the local community center in Imazu. 「周航の物語展」今津東コミセン
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「周航の物語展」今津東コミセン
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This showcase showed things from the old Daisan Koto Gakko college.
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Student uniform for Daisan Koto Gakko school.
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Daisan Koto Gakko Rowing club towel
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Daisan Koto Gakko book of songs
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Chojiya ryokan along the lake shore. Likely this is where Oguchi Taro and crew stayed. 丁子屋という旅館
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Inside Chojiya. Very impressive Japanese-style inn with lake views.
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Room in Chojiya ryokan.
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Inside Chojiya. The inn is famous for serving duck.
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Another local landmark was this former bank building designed by William Merrell Vories who designed many buildings in Shiga, especially in Omi-Hachiman.
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Inside former bank building.
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In the evening during 5 pm-6:30pm, a slide show lecture about Oguchi Taro and Yoshida Chiaki was given by Iida Tadayoshi, a song researcher. Held at a hotel in Imazu. 歌と映像でつづる「小口太郎と吉田千秋の物語」講演会
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German-made accordian used by Yoshida Chiaki was also on display.
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View of Imazu shore from hotel
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A reception was held afterward in the hotel. The mayor of Takashima, Hidekazu Kaito, speaks. I gave him a copy of our CD. 高島市長 海東英和
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Interestingly, the mayor's first name "Hidekazu" means "English-Japanese." The next day, at the choir contest, he told us that he listened to and liked our song.
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Kanpai!
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Meeting Iida Tadayoshi, song researcher and former NHK announcer.
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In the end, we all sang the song, including the mayor of Takashima.
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最後に皆で周航歌を歌う。
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Ware wa Umi no ko~. Jamie and Megan also sang the next day at the choir contest. More info about Lake Biwa Rowing Song here.
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