Thursday, November 24, 2005

The Book Club's Grand Tour of Kyoto

Paper umbrellas popped on the Japanese scene during the Edo period. Featured in many of the woodblock prints of Hiroshige Ando`s '100 scence of everyday life' these wax coated paper umbrella spared the people from the heat of the harsh, summer sun and sheltered them from rain. Utamaro Kitagawa also depicted these traditional umbrellas in his Ukiyoe (woodblock) masterpieces of beautiful women. These days, Japanese umbrellas play an important role in tea ceremony, dance, and Kabuki as an essential representation of Japanese traditional culture.

The 'book club' kids pause for a moment of meditation at one of Nanzenji`s rock gardens.

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The thick wooden clogs of a maiko, or apprentice geisha. In the crowded Hanamikoji street, we heard the sound of many maiko girls' rushing to make their appointments. 'Kobo-kobo-kobo'is the onomonopia used to describe the sound of these shoes on the stone streets. 'Okobo', as they are called, have extremely thick soles, measuring 11cm.

Two nisemono maiko, or imposters (toursits playing dress-up), send pictures of their transformation to friends via keatai, or mobile phone.

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A very young maiko steps out with her 'big sister', one of the 17 maiko and geisha we saw walking the streets of Gion.

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Another maiko hurrying down the Hanamikoji. Red and green are the 'in' colors this season. Seems even maiko are getting into the holiday spirit.

The tangerine tunnel of torii leading through the green trees and autumn leaves of Fushimi Inari.

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The changing leaves above Fushimi Inari`s tunnel of torii.

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Our trip was coming to an end, but our happy times were just beginning!


Jean said...

Meditation in the garden !!!
J'aimerai tellement méditer dans ces jardins de monastère !!
J'a vu de nombreux documentaires sur l'ascèse des moines zen et cela me tente beaucoup !!
Je médite tous les jours ..mais pas dans un tel décors , pas dans une ambiance aussi pure !

I will like so much to meditate in these gardens of monastery!! I saw the many documentary ones on the asceticism of the monks Zen and that tries me much!! I contemplate tous.les.jours did not..mais in such decorations, not in such a pure environment!

Abbey said...

These photos are wonderful. I was directed here after an Altia interview and am really impressed. You can check out my blog, but it looks childish after yours! I'm looking forward to seeing more and being inspired.

Lindizzy said...

I love fushimi inari...I never got to go there during koyoo...

Melissa said...

Abbey: Wow! Congrats on Altia. I have a few friends that started working for them after JET, and they really like the company. Are you in Japan yet? Where are you going to be placed? Thanks for checking out my blog! Who directed you to it?

Lindz: The first time I ever went to Fushimi Inari was with you, Jess, and Jessica! Remember Justin eating sparrows on a stick? yeah, that ols lady was grillin' some up again. why?