Tamahime Temple

Posted by Ebony at 4:01 am on Wednesday, January 13, 2010
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There are hundreds of temples in Japan. I’m sure I’ll be visiting many during my stay, but here are some pictures of Tamahime Temple. My Japanese friend Mina took me and my friend Chris to the temple, where we watched a traditional doll performance illustrating the story of the Tamahime Princess. I was not able to take pictures inside the temple, but I can confidently say that I have never been blown away by the extravagance of a temple before visiting Tamahime Temple. It was absolutely magnificent. There were statues of prominent religious figures that towered over me, the sweet scent of incense filling my nostrils, and traditional Japanese chanting of prayers playing in the background. The environment was stunning and I couldn’t help but think, ” This is why I came here. To experience what I’ve read about in textbooks firsthand.” It was truly a moving experience for me. The pictures I have here are mostly of the exterior of the temple.

Mina, me, and Chris in front of the Japanese dolls used in the Princess Tamahime performance. (The only inside picture that was permitted.)

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Purikura~!

Posted by Ebony at 3:46 am on Wednesday, January 13, 2010
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Purikura is photo booth photos taken to the most extreme level! In Japan purikura is a teenage girl’s dream. Not only can you take pictures with all of your friends using the most hi-tech photo editing tools such as skin color alteration and eye widening tools, but after the pictures are taken you can move into a smaller both and spend time decorating the pictures with hundreds of decorations, drawings, etc. You can then print the pictures out and distribute them or put them on your cell phone or send the pictures directly to your cell phone and share them online. Naturally, I completely fell in love with purikura and try to do it with my friends as much as possible! Here are a couple purikura pictures of me and some other international students in my program here at Kanazawa University.

My cellphone with some purikura pictures! I had a lot more before but they all fell off..

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Japanese Noh Theater Performance

Posted by Ebony at 3:31 am on Wednesday, January 13, 2010
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My friend Chris, another student here with me from SUNY New Paltz, is an English tutor for a Japanese man in Kanazawa. This man also happens to be a Noh Theater performer. Noh Theater has been treasured by the Japanese for many years as a musical form of theater, where the actors were very intricate costumes and perform scenes  with masks, the men playing male and female roles. Chris received two tickets to a tea ceremony and a Noh performance in Kanazawa, so we went together. Here are some pictures from that day:

This was right outside the tea room. This small garden was so serene and beautiful.

Next to the tea room that we all had tea in there was a traditional tea room from many many years ago. This room is still intact but is only used for viewing purposes. The room was extremely small and had to be entered by kneeling and people inside usually sit on there ankles and do not stand.

More views of the traditional tea room.

The room where we actually drank tea.

These ropes are put on many trees in Japan to stop the snow from breaking their branches. I think that it adds a special something to the tree itself.

Before the performance, the man that Chris tutors demonstrated the complicated process of dressing a Noh performer.

The audience was consisted mostly of older Japanese men and women, the women dressed in kimono.

The actor was being dressed for the part of the God for the performance.

The musicians are on the left, both women, playing the taiko drum and the Japanese bamboo flute.

This group of men sing during the Noh Performance. The style of singing was nothing like I have ever heard before. I can describe it as a cross between chanting and wailing, each syllable and note conveying the emotion being performed by the actor in costume on the stage. The singing in combination with the taiko drum and the Japanese flute is, in my opinion, the exemplifies the essence of traditional Japanese culture.

And finally, the performance began…

The actor entered from the far left, walking down a long corridor in very slow, specific steps that synced with the music and singing of the chorus.

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Japanese Culture Class: Gold Leaf

Posted by Ebony at 1:46 am on Wednesday, January 13, 2010
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Another exciting day in my Experiences in Japanese Culture class! We went to the Gold Leaf museum in Kanazawa. Kanazawa is famous in Japan for it’s gold leaf lacquer and other goods adorned with gold leaf. Learning about the process that goes into making gold leaf goods was really interesting. In the museum there were also really beautiful pottery pieces decorated with gold leaf. My class had the opportunity to decorate various pieces. I chose a jewelry box. Here are some pictures:

The jewelry box before I started, with a border of tape.

Next, created the design with thin tape. Then, I applied glue to the top cover.

With the glue on top, I took a sheet of gold and also silver leaf, crumpled it, and dabbed it on the top repeatedly in different places for effect. Then more glue was applied to the top.

After the glue dried I removed the tape and this is the finishing product: a beautiful gold leaf jewelry box!

I really enjoyed decorating my jewelry box, which I now use everyday. Here are some other pictures from the Gold Leaf Museum:

Hideki Matsui, New York Yankees MVP 2009 and from the Kanazawa area!

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