Taikan Taiken (Feel & Experience) Lab held “Hanawa-machi Legend of the Lake/Yoshiie and the Giant Dragon of the Lake Workshop”

On Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016, we held a puppet-show workshop at Hanawa-machi in Fukushima.
The participants consisted of 36 pupils, 1st through 6th graders, living in Hanawa-machi. The pupils who had volunteered for the workshop were called the “Hanawa Taken-tai (Expedition Team)”, and the fiscal year 2015 was their 9th and last time. That is why they all participated with much enthusiasm and energy.

The story of the puppet show was written based on a legend of the lake, which has been handed down in Hanawa-machi from the distant past. The characters involve Hachiman-Taro-Yoshiie, 3 kappas (river monsters in Japanese folklore) and a big white dragon.
”When Yoshiie was traveling through Hanawa-machi, he came across a large lake. When he approached the lake, he saw a swirling shadow! So Yoshiie climbed to the top of Mt. Yumihari, one of the highest in Hanawa-machi, and shot an arrow at the shadow. Then, a small kappa came out and cried, “Stop! Please help us fight the dragon together.” It also called on the children to make puppets of their friends to help save them. The children worked together and made puppets, which became their friends. Then, in the latter half of the play, 2 elder-brother kappas came out and said that the dragon was actually not a bad one. They asked that the arrow shot by Yoshiie be pulled out from the dragon. When the brother kappas chanted a magic spell, a big white dragon emerged and the children pulled out the arrow. At the end, Yoshiie suggested that they should have a festival to express their joy and everyone danced in a circle and partied. All is well that ends well!”

The workshop was an hour and a half long, but since there were comments such as “Time seemed to fly” in the questionnaires, everyone must have been focused and enjoyed the show. In the questionnaires, there were many positive comments, such as “Had lots of fun” and “The staff helped us a lot”. The fact that the children enthusiastically took part and had a great time was very inspiring and gave the members of the Taikan Taiken (Feel & Experience) Lab a sense of accomplishment, and it also had an interactive synergy effect that was uplifting to all of us. The preparations were hard and obviously quite tough for the students of the lab, but when it was over, we all went home to Tsukuba with a pleasant sense of fatigue and a big smile.



Taikan Taiken (Feel & Experience) Lab held Workshop at Ohzone Children’s Center

On Dec. 9, the Taikan Taiken (Feel & Experience) Lab held a workshop at Ohzone Children’s Center in Tsukuba city.
In preparation for the workshop, we carried out research to understand the characteristic of the children’s center, the age group of the children, as well as the elements that distinguish the area. Based on our findings, we combined the locality, creativity and physicality of the Yatabe district in Tsukuba to come up with a storyline for a puppet show.
In deciding on the storyline, we chose the character, Iiduka Igashichi, an inventor who actually lived in Tsukuba in the Edo Period, and with reference to what we had learned from our visit to the Yatabe Local History Museum, we talked about adopting such key words as “Oda Castle”, “Japanese clocks”, “Karakuri puppets (traditional Japanese mechanized puppets)” as sub-themes.
In the end, we chose to start the story off by relating that an essential part of Igashichi’s Karakuri puppet, which is his creation, had been stolen, and that the villagers decided to make Karakuri puppets of their own to try and help Igashichi. Preparations for the performance started by practicing with the puppets, creating sound effects, choosing materials for making the puppets, checking safety concerns, getting ready for ways to engage with the children, and making use of the experiences that were acquired through the workshops.
The children at the Ohzone Children’s Center were very lively and they were very enthusiastic in their response to the puppet show and making of the puppets. In the scene where they sneak into the thieves’ lair, the children seemed to enjoy the thrill of dodging obstacles in the dark.
Through our experience in conducting workshops, members of the team discovered that games and creative means of expression might lead to emotional care in dealing with children, who are, unlike adults, harder to communicate with words alone. (Nagata, MC1 at School of Art & Design)







Taikan Taiken (Feel & Experience) Lab: Princess Kubo and Her Secret Friend Workshop

On 2/22 (Sun), “Princess Kubo and Her Secret Friend Workshop” was held at Iwaki Alios. The smiling faces of the children absorbed in making the dolls with some help from the staff of “Asobi (Play) Workshop” and parents of the children were so memorable. The final show was very lively as the children held the dolls they made and danced and sang with Princess Kubo. (Art & Design, MC 1st year, Takahashi)

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Taikan Taiken (Feel & Experience) Lab Team holds an exhibition showing its accomplishments

An exhibition showing the accomplishments of the Taikan Taiken (Feel & Experience) Lab Team is being held at 6A Entrance Gallery.  Scenes of the workshops carried out at Fukushima-shi, Tsuchi-yu and Iwaki-shi, Onahama are on display as well as the members’ reports with large photographs of the activities.  Please come and see them.
Date & Time: Dec. 9 (Monday) to Dec. 23 (Monday), 9:00-17:00
Venue: 6A Entrance Gallery (Iida)




Nawatobi (Jump Rope) Project in Onahama!

The other project carried out by the Taikan Taiken (Feel & Experience) Lab Team during the Onahama Hon-cho Street Art Festival (Oct. 13 & 14, 2013), the Nawatobi (Jump Rope) Project’s final video, was uploaded to You Tube. The students asked people in Onahama to jump rope. They filmed each person jumping once and connected the jumps of all the people that they had met to create a movie. Please watch the energetic rope-jumping of a total of 200 people. (Iida)

Hop Stop Animation! Go Forth, Onahama Explorers!

As part of the program for the Onahama Hon-cho Street Art Festival 2013, the workshop “Hop Stop Animation! Go forth, Onahama Explorers!” was carried out by the Taikan Taiken (Feel & Experience) Lab Team. Using the stop motion technique of animation where images shot one by one of each movement are put together to create an animation, the participants and student staff members explored the town of Onahama. Many people came to the showing and let out a cheer when they saw the curious movements of the stop motion images, but also seemed to be watching intently at the scenes of Onahama and the smiles of children that could be seen in the background.





In the “Nawatobi (Jump Rope) Project”, held at the same time, the students asked people in Onahama to jump rope. They filmed each person jumping once and connected the jumps of all the people that they had met to create a movie. The video will be uploaded to You Tube later. (Iida)


”Our Own Laputa Strategy” is on!

The workshop, “Our Own Laputa Strategy” was carried out at Tsuchiyu Elementary School in Fukushima-city. Based on their future dreams, children created a town on miniature islands and attached balloons to make them float in the air. The students gave their helping hand and support to create the children’s dream town. The children cheered when the islands floated in mid air. The finished work will be on display at Shakunage-sou during the Tsuchiyu Arafudo Art Annual. While the students felt a sense of accomplishment, they also felt the necessity to continue the activity. (Iida)
Information of the Exhibit
Date & Time: Oct. 7 (Monday) ~ Oct. 14 (Monday), 9:00ー17:00.
Venue: Shakunage-sou (Fukushima-shi, Tsuchiyu Onsen, Suginoshita)






“Our own Laputa strategy”

As a workshop project for the Tsuchiyu Arafudo Art Annual 2013, elementary school children from Fukushima City will create fantastical flying cities, like Laputa from the famous anime film “Castle in the Sky”. The children will place buildings on top of miniature islands to design their own city, and these will be attached to balloons and floated into the sky. After the workshop, a week-long exhibition will be held at Shakunage-sou. Other artists’ works will be displayed around this atmospheric town, famous for its onsen and wooden kokeshi dolls. We hope you will take the time to go and view it. (Ono)

Flying city workshop
Venue: Tsuchiyu Elementary School
Time & date: Sunday October 6th, 2013, 10am to 3pm

Exhibition: Shakunage-sou
Time & date: October 7th (Mon) to 14th (Mon), 2013, 9am to 5pm
Applications/inquiries: Genki Up Tsuchiyu Office, “Tsuchiyu Geijutsu Mangekyo Jikko Iinkai (Art Kaleidescope Executive Committee)”
Tel: 050-5857-8454 email: tsukuba@arafudo.net
When applying, please include your name, age, phone number, address, and school name.
Deadline for applications: 5pm on Tuesday, October 1st, 2013
Tsuchiya Arafudo Art Annual 2013 土湯アラフドアートアニュアル2013
Click on the flyer!



Hop Stop Animation! Go Forth, Onahama Explorers!

The Taikan Taiken (Feel & Experience) lab team will hold an animation workshop using stop motion techniques, at the “Onahama Honcho Street Art Festival”.
Along with elementary school children from Onahama, we will set out into the town to uncover the attractions of Onahama! It may be a chance to see Onahama from a different angle to how we usually view it. A screening of the animations will be held at the end to celebrate everyone’s productions. (Akagi)
Date & time: Sunday October 13, 2013, 10am to 3pm workshop
Monday October 14, 2013, 5pm screening
Venue: Onahama Honcho Dori, Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture.
Click on the flyer for more information!