gurdymonkey: (pretties)
Ganked from sasha_khan who locks his journal, or I'd have sent you there instead.  Frankly, I think the seizure-inducing animation was unnecessary and the photos could stand on their own merit without it.

Oh, and go look at the standing lantern in "Geisha in a tearoom." Hexagonal basket weave, like my chochin caning!

And now I shall rinse the purple goo from my hair, get dressed and go into San Francisco to Soko Hardware since one of my bamboo strainers decided to die at Coronet.....

gurdymonkey: (pretties)

Not long after he burst onto the Tousando board in 2005, Fujiwara no Nagamochi (aka [ profile] gcmadtown81 ) decided quite unilaterally that I was his "big sister." In the summer of 2008, on a whim, he got on a Greyhound and came out for our A&S Tourney, where some of you may remember having met him.

I feel like even more of a slacker after seeing the results of this team project.

Nice work, Otouto-chan.

gurdymonkey: (pretties) see the paint job on this gentleman's jinbaori (surcoat).
Were such pictorial displays done in period? I honestly can't say as I haven't looked at enough examples. It's still freaking GORGEOUS!

gurdymonkey: (pretties)
...but I found the bookmark so here it is: 

gurdymonkey: (mysca)

[ profile] maredudd1066  in his gorgeous new kit - at Raglan Castle, Wales. Congratulations, tomodachi, you and your big nodachi and Samurai Bunny Slippers have Created a most excellent Anachronism!

Look at the breastplate - he did a Niô dô!!!! In a Zen reversal of the rippling Greco-Roman sixpack, nio do imitate the emaciated physique of ascetic monks.

And this is Katherine from Far West, who came home from Pennsic and got better pictures for me than the ones she offered me last week.

gurdymonkey: (pretties)
Newly updated to rat out the well dressed in public. Thanks to all our Samurai Eye participants! You know who you are.

I think it's time for some lunch!

In semi related news, I have been home enough consecutive Saturday evenings to figure out what the hell is going on in "Tenchijin," an NHK historical soap that's been airing on Channel 26. Yummy costumes, and an appealing, mostly young, mostly photogenic cast, which probably explains a lot about the "history girl" trend in Japan right now. 

gurdymonkey: (brain cramp)
What's in a name? )

A classical Japanese Poo Joke )

The arts thingy )

Please go admire this.  [ profile] erink did a beautiful job.

Please go admire these. I knew Katherine was awesome when I met her at Pennsic two years ago, but now she's doing JAPANESE!!!! I am extremely jealous. At least she's letting me snag photos for Samurai Eye.
gurdymonkey: (pretties)
Went to see this Thursday night with [profile] layla_lilah .  Three short comic plays were presented by members of the Izumi School. 20th head master since 1995,  Izumi Motoya, his sisters Izumi Junko (first professional female kyogen actor) and Miyake Tokuro (second professional kyogen actor and the first to inherit a stage name, her grandfather's) and Junko-san's six year old daughter Izumo Kyoko. The Izumi school dates back to the mid 15th century when it was patronized by an aristocratic family whose name I cannot recall at the moment. Patronage passed to the Tokugawa shogunate in the 17th century.

The three plays were all performed in Japanese, in traditional costume. Bonsan tells of a man who envies his neighbor's collection of bonsai and decides to steal one. When the owner hears noises and comes to investigate, the thief hides behind one of the trees. Recognizing the friend who has been begging him for years to part with a tree, he decides to tease him. "Oh, I thought it was a thief, but it seems to be a dog!" The thief howls like a dog. "No," the owner comes a bit closer. "Not a dog. I think it's a monkey!" The thief shrieks and scratches like a monkey. "Ah, now I see! It is a sea bream!" The thief uses his fan as a dorsal fin but is otherwise stumped when the tree owner says, "But the bream always cries when it puts up it's fin!" The thief jumps out from behind the tree crying "tai, tai, tai" and flees with the owner chasing him.

Ne ongyoku means "horizontal singing." The Master of the house calls his servant Taro Kaja to come sing for him. Taro Kaja claims he can only sing when he is drunk. The Master brings out sake and Taro Kaja drinks. And drinks. And drinks. The Master reminds him he's supposed to sing. TK now says he can only sing well while lying with his head on his wife's knee. The Master pats his knee. TK rests his head and begins to sing. The Master then asks him to try while sitting up, but TK croaks horribly and begs off. The Master offers his knee again. TK bursts into melodious song. The Master begins raising TK up and down, At first TK's voice cracks when he approaches vertical and returns to melodiousness when he lies down, but he quickly becomes confused and starts mixing the positions up as he becomes dizzy with drink. Forgetting himself completely, he gets up and dances while singing - and is eventually chased from the stage by his angry Master .

Kojidawara, or "The Tangerine Bag" A buyer shows up early to pick up his order of fruit for the New Year. The grower asks him to come back later because he hasn't packed them. Although the order was pre-paid, the grower had sold the tangerines to someone else. He takes his child (Izumi Kyoko, aged six) , tells him the problem and asks him to get into the bag. The child is kitted out with a demon mask and told to take advantage of his earliest chance to run away from the buyer.

The buyer returns, marvels at the size of this year's bushel, particularly when the grower helps load the burden onto his back, assuring him that he has the best fruit this year. On the way home, he begins to tire and tries to put down his load, only to hear a voice cry, "Don't put me down!" He looks around, but there's no one there. He decides it's best to hurry home. "Don't hurry!" commands the voice. Realizing it's coming from the basket, he puts it dow and tries to flee, only to hear "If you don't let open this basket right now, I shall eat you!" Demon is freed from basket, buyer flees and demon chases him.

Even without knowing Japanese, the stories were comical and easy enough to follow, even though the vocal presentation and stage movements are stylized. I'm glad we got to see them.

I'm also glad we got to have a look at the Lords of the Samurai show (second time for me, first for my companion). One of the noh robes is displayed laid out on a table. There are seams at the tops of the shoulders and sleeves, something I haven't seen in traditional kimono construction. Although I could not see the back of the garment, what makes the most obvious sense is that the seams are there so that the decorative pattens of phoenixes are right side up on both sides of the garment.

I also picked up a CD in the gift shop, Japanese Masterpieces for the Shakuhachi.
gurdymonkey: (profile)
There is no day so impossibly sucky that it cannot be instantly cured by a poem or three from an admirer. Tuesday was such a day.

A couple of years ago as part of the development of my Japanese persona, I began infecting various SCA e-lists with waka, a poem of five lines of 5-7-5-7-7 syllables that became popular in the Heian period. I was thrilled when other people started writing them back.

Somewhere along the line, the friendly poetic conversations with a certain bushi from Aethelmearc turned into an in-persona courtship. For the record, we've never met in person and he's happily married to a very understanding lady who evidently enjoys reading what we write. Who knew romance-as-literary-exercise could be so much fun?

Date Saburou Yukiie's latest messages and Saionji no Hanae's replies will be up on my website some time this weekend. My poetry page has grown so large I've decided to bite the bullet and try to divide it up into smaller pages. EDIT - make that now. if you want to start at the very beginning. if you just want to see the new ones.

In the meantime, I'm still basking in the happy glow of "robes lined with gleaming sunlight."

gurdymonkey: (barbarians)
Rather than dwell upon the irony of the term "productive cough", I am trying to enjoy all the positive feedback I had on my karaginu mo at Twelfth Night. (Pics and "dress diary" at for your viewing pleasure.)

My first outing in Japanese dress in the SCA was the result of being sucked into the enthusiastic jetwash of two friends who were portraying Japanese and wanted me along at a themed event. So why am I still doing it five years later?

I confess! When else do I get to be beautiful, exotic and elegant? Why else would men across the Known World woo me with poetry? (And why are none of them my age, single AND living in my kingdom, I ask you? Sigh.)

The Imperial Court was occupied with what Ivan Morris refers to as a "cult of beauty", but it's a very different beauty than that of 21st century America. Figure flaws disappear under voluminous silks, mystery is heightened by the skillful use of a fan. Even under field conditions
when I don't do full make-up, I move more gracefully in Japanese dress - perhaps because I try to let it wear me instead of the other way around. I'm lucky to have good hair. I exploit it as much as possible - after all, Saionji would.

When Kass and James turned to me that day and said, "And you're coming too, right?" I sort of knew it could never just be Jehanne in a bathrobe. Not if I was going to do it correctly and with the respect it deserved. So I started doing my homework - and I got sucked in.

It was interesting. It was new. It was a chance to try on a different persona. And she's different all right. Saionji is high maintenance. She likes different colors than Jehanne does, and she accepts admiration as her due. She's a natural at writing poetry, while Jehanne finds it a chore. Nobody has ever said "Wow" when Jehanne walks by or blurted, "You look beautiful!" to Jehanne, but it happens to Saionji. It's supposed to.

The flip side of that coin is that I'm not Asian. I remember the sickening gut drop when I rounded a corner at Estrella and there was Duchess Tamsin, a Japanese American. She knew I'd been doing a Japanese portrayal but hadn't seen it before. I knew she would never say anything bad, but still, I couldn't help wonder, "Is this OK? Is she going to be offended?" To my profound relief, she threw her arms
around me, hugged hard and said it was so nice to see someone doing a period Japanese impression so well. Last year when Lord Vail, a native born Japanese, came out to October Crown from the Barony of the Far West, I felt the gut drop again when he approached the BC. We bowed, he said "Kosode beautiful," bowed again and presented me with a cell phone charm. I was so touched that my limited Japanese vocabulary flew straight out of my head and I was forced to thank him in English.


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