Bowling at Rennais

One of our scheduled cultural activities at Eurocentres was to participate in a traditional Japanese rice planting ceremony. That got rained out -- although the rice plants were happy about the rain, apparently they didn't think a bunch of language students would be happy glopping about in the resulting mud. To replace that, we substituted another form of Japanese culture, an afternoon of bowling. While it might not be traditional culture (bunka), it was definitely ポップカルチャ- (pop culture) at its finest!

We went bowling at Rennais, which is an entertainment complex a few minutes north of kanazawa-eki. It has a multiplex theatre, an onsen, a huge arcade area (where we played the taiko drumming bemani game afterwards), and a large bowling alley. Below is the bowling etiquette guide handed out at our "amusement paradise", featuring the awesome Japanese habit of illustrating everything with cartoon figures. The large red type says "Welcome to Rennais Sun Circus", which was the name for the bowling alley part of the Rennais complex.

Rennais Bowling Etiquette

Here are the rules of Japanese bowling etiquette translated as a favor to you benighted English-only readers out there.

  "etiquette and manners that are desirable for bowling"

Don't bring beverages onto the lane (the only one of these we did not see someone violate)

"earth feet" (street shoes) are prohibited. Please refrain from "roft boru" (lofting the ball). A group of young Japanese men a few lanes down from us definitely did not take this caution into account. They bowled as though it was a contact sport.
  It's no good to "foul over" (go over the foul line). This was the most ignored of all these rules. Most Japanese bowlers seem to find it's much easier from 3-5' into the lane. Please don't call out to other bowlers while they're bowling. Unless you know them. Or they're cute. Don't bowl while the person next to you is bowling. Now, even though we were there mid-afternoon, there were a good twenty or more lanes active. Amongst all those people, myself and Chris from Australia seemed to be the only two people in the bowling alley who knew this rule. In combination with lofting the ball, it could be very exciting.

Despite all the smarmy copy, bowling was a fun time. A number of people in our group had never been bowling before, Chris being the notable exception. At left: I launch one. At right: Yasuko with one of the flourescent green bowling balls. Although it doesn't show in every picture, all of the bowling balls at the alley were various flourescent colors.

I didn't take too many pictures because shortly after I started I realized all bowling photos end up looking pretty much the same. This must be a huge challenge for television bowling coverage.
The exception to the bad-bowling-photo rule is the one below, where Frances steps up. If you click on the enlargement, this picture is fun because everything in the picture except Frances' hair is motion-blurred.
OnlyTheHairIsStill.jpg Yasuko, Joy, and Frances. Joy, who hadn't bowled much before, had an unusual style. She's getting ready to release the ball, which she'll do without stepping forward. Despite being unusual, it worked as well as any of our bowling approaches.One of the Japanese full-contact bowlers is letting loose just behind Joy. BowlingYasukoJoyFrances.jpg
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  © 2004 Leo Hourvitz