Someone translated our prefectural song into English. All umpteen verses of it.
I can only find the words for the first verse but this is the kind of thing we're talking about:
Shinano, our home province, the land of our pride
We have ten neighbors; our land is vast and wide
Nestled in the mountains that kiss the sky above
Blessed with the rivers running through the land we love
Matsumoto, Ina, Saku, Zenkoji
Fertile farmland, rich with fruit and grains
All that we could hope for, we get from abundant plains
Seas of wealth without an ocean
Shinano, you're my home.
Yup, acres and acres of prefectural pride here. I love hometown pride and hearing people talk about where they're from. In Australia it was all about Victoria being superior to New South Wales (all up themselves just because they got the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House- pah let 'em have them, they got cockroaches, too!)Tasmania (two-headed, inbred, always whining about being left off the map of Australia), South Australia (croweaters, small town Adelaide masquerading as a city) ACT (all politicians and pornography producers) and Queensland (more retirees per km2 than your average nursing home and the policemen wear shorts and safari socks!) Can't think what we said about WA and NT- don't think they eve registered!
When I lived in Osaka it was all about Kansai vs Kanto in stinginess, friendliness and seasonings.
In Fukushima it was ALL about the Boshin War as though it hadn't been over for 150 years all ready. The people of Aizu especially harboured grudges against Tokyo and for not being given naming rights to the prefecture.
I really didn't live in Saitama long enough to get to know it, and I was pretty unhappy there which dampened my enthusiasm for the place but you only need to be in the city I lived in- Kasukabe City for about a day before someone says 'did you know Kasukabe is the hometown of Crayon Shin-chan?' And if you want to make friends do NOT answer as I did: 'who's Crayon Shin-chan?' :O
And now I live in Nagano. Shinshu. Shinanonokuni. Locals seem to prefer the old words to the term Nagano. Pre 1871 this was Shinanonokuni. Riddled with castles it was a hotbed of political activity and seemingly you couldn't know who the ruler was going to be from one year to the next. Then along came those darn interfering Tokyoites decreeing that ruling with 130 of your relatives by sheer brute force was not going to be cool anymore and Shinanonokuni was split into two- Nagano in the North and Chikuma in the South. A mere five years later they were merged and everyone became part of Nagano.
Well to hear Matsumoto folks talk this merger was pure highway robbery and the passion they display belies the fact that we're not talking about something that happened yesterday but 150 years ago! You see Nagano is a city built around a temple that was used as a base during the Boshin War but Matsumoto is an out and proud castle town. Surely we should have got prefectural capital status? There are many people who will tell you it'S not too late and we should move the capital even now. Despite the HUGE ammount of money it would cost to do this. They are prepared to sign their grandkids' taxes up to the cause if it means righting this dastardly wrong.
So, back to where I was heading before I got distracted,;) this blog is called Shinshu Life not because I am a follower of Jodoshinshu Buddhism- which at least one person was googling when they ended up here- sorry! but because Shinshu is another, more endearing, those-in-the-know kind of name for Nagano. Think Shinshu Salmon, The Shinano train from Nagoya to Nagano, The Mainchi Shinano Newspaper, SBC- Shinshu Broadcasting Corporation, 'Made in Shinshu' labels on everything from wine to apple juice, lacquer ware to silks. And of course that rousing anthem of our people, Shinano no kuni or as I now know it in English 'Our Shinano.'