Adventures in Ancient Japan
is a reader and an explorer, as most youngsters are. On his many library
visits, he was reading a book about kites when Miss Marian, the librarian,
told him about kite flying in Japan. Curious, Tobyhanna read some more…..
Starting from well over 400
years ago, there were giant kite flying festivals in Japan. The first
is said to have been held in Hamamatsu to celebrate the birth of the
local ruler's son. More than 50 kites were brought to this occasion
with some measuring up to 12 feet in height. Since then festivals have
begun in other areas, such as Ikazaki where as many as 1000 kites can
be seen in the air at one time and in Yokaichi where records for the
largest kite (about 60 feet X 60 feet) and longest flight time (2 hours)
were established. Their annual festival is held in May, and the World
Kite Museum is located here.
Tobyhanna comes from a coal
mining region in Pennsylvania. One day he found a strange nugget that
glowed like a diamond. But a strange thing happened whenever he rubbed
it - he was transported to a different time and place. This time…..
An estimated two million
visitors attend the Hamamatsu festival each year. In our story, one
more visitor will suddenly appear. Tobyhanna arrives just in time to
help a local girl, Hiroko, who befriends him, and the villagers, whose
giant kite was destroyed a few days before the contest. The time is
in the 1860s - about 10 years since Admiral Perry arrived in Japan to
establish US-Japanese relations. Hiroko has had the opportunity to learn
English words. They will both learn about each other's countries, and
together they will find a way to help the villagers to compete in that
See the lavish costumes,
hear the taiko drums, absorb some new language words and witness some
of the pageantry that goes into a Japanese festival. Tobyhanna does,
and he gains a new appreciation for what he has only read about in books.