I’m just going to cut straight to the conclusion: you don’t. You can’t. At least, not yet. Now before you get discouraged or upset or say “this guy doesn't know what he’s talking about”, I ask that you stick with me until the end of this article and find out what I mean by “not yet”.
Those who maintain venerable traditions are highly valued in Kyoto. Even though maiko and the older geiko are part of an exclusive high society, there are not enough new recruits anymore. In the renowned Gion area they dart out of taxis into teahouses at twilight, so there is little chance to stop them for a photo.
Here are a few things you can experience at the start of the New Year on the beautiful Ryukyu islands, which differ from mainland O-shogatsu.
Knives used to carve them are specialized tools called “satou” or “hidari-ba” which are more like tiny scrapers than knives. They look like dental picks for mythical creatures to be used by monstrous dentists. I acquired my first set of satou knives from master carver Kazuaki Nakamura but I needed a knife suited to my individual needs: One that was curved in the opposite direction to the knife included in the set.
“Kagura” refers to the Shinto theatrical dance dedicated to honor Shinto gods and are known to predate the Noh tradition, therefore, evolving as early as the 14th century. The Kagura Mai dance is perhaps one of the oldest forms of Japanese ritual dance performed in many shrines all over Japan, and consists of several types.
Summer's here and for Japan, that means hot weather, exciting festivals, and fun cultural activities in every prefecture celebrated by all people young and old. With that said, Japan is the place to be this summer and here are 5 reasons why.
The Daibutsu (Great Buddha / 大仏) of Japan rank among the oldest, largest and most impressive in the world. Unbeknownst to most people there’s a very impressive Daibutsu statue in Japan’s capital.
The Noh performances are basically unchanged since they began over 650 years ago. When you watch, or are lucky enough to actually participate, there is an unavoidable connection to the past. The movements and music are hauntingly beautiful and the whole experience was one I will never forget.
It amazed me how words written thousands of years ago by people long dead could come to shape our modern world on such a fundamental level. It also stunned me that so few of my fellow students seemed interested in what these ancient texts had to offer.
The traditional Japanese calendar, Rokuyo, while helpful in deciding which days are appropriate for important events, also serves as a guide to determine if the day will be lucky or not.