Friday, April 30, 2010

Thursday, April 28 – Saturday, May 1, 2010-

How is it already MAY?!?! That absolutely blows my mind! I can’t believe I’ve already reached this point on my exchange. I’ll say it once again, time is playing tricks on me over here.

Seeing as it’s already past midnight here I’m feelin’ a bit too tired for much more than a nice reel of photographs. Hope you enjoy this daytrip I took to Nikko’s Edo Mura (Edo Period village) with my host brother, Yasu, and his wife, Rumi. Very entertaining place! I saw six or seven different performances, played old-fashioned samurai and ninja games, and even ate beef & giblet donburi rice in accordance with the era; definitely a fun way to spend a day off of school. Golden Week, the famous Spring holiday week during which Japan practically shuts down for vacation, is finally here and I plan on spending my time quietly relaxing here in the countryside. I’ll try to fill you in soon.


One of the multiple performances with incredible kimonos and hairstyles!
Just one of the crew
The Edo period is best known for it's black tiled roofs and whitewashed walls
Actin' tough
These little four year olds were part of a youth program where they got to dress up like Edo police and chase a fake criminal across the town! So funny watching them try to blow a whistle while sprinting as fast as they could on their short little legs! They looked like they were having a ball
An entertaining Japanese water performance unlike anything else I've seen yet
The morning was a little damp, raining for a couple hours. It only served to give the hills a sense of mystery, shrouding them in mist
As soon as the rain and mist cleared up the village was a quaint little scene
More impressive dancing and kimonos
Two youngsters dressed up as ninjas enjoying feeding the koi
Bamboo, Mountains, Rock Gardens, Koi Ponds = 100% Japanese
This was hilarious, that same group of ninjas in training got to practice using the Force, or something, because they all counted to three, shouted at the top of their lungs, and pretended to use their ninja mind control to do this...
Knock their evil enemy off of the top of that tower. That's a real person falling from the sky, I'm assuming there's a big pad lying at the base...tough day at the office if there isn't!
Rumi and Yasu exploring the ninja house of tricks
Actual ninja throwing stars. Ninjas are an actual part of Japanese history, trained assassins who lived in the hills (much like those around Nikko) only descending to carry out their work late at night, never to be seen again...
Yasu, Rumi, the Ninjas, and know, the usual gang
The ninja show was even cooler than this short clip but none of the video I took turned out very well! Just imagine this part, but ten times cooler!! Best part of the whole day!!
A reenactment of a traditional wedding ceremony. Check out the shoes on the bride! They've got to be over 10 inches, must weigh a ton too
A very cool jester of sorts, she taught me how to use these old fashioned bamboo sticks to make different shapes like the one you see above!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sunday, April 25 – Wednesday, April 28, 2010-

I’ve been staying out of trouble lately, which directly translates into not having anything very blog-worthy to report. It’s absolutely pouring rain right now, the same as yesterday, so I have been stuck indoors trying to find ways to pass the time. I actually found a few pages of work I had written last fall during my free time. I dusted them off this afternoon and figured I’d share a couple with you. Hope you enjoy them.


It’s like a fire in the rain

It’s like a favorite kind of pain

From my empty penthouse suite,

Count the trains beneath my feet.

Staring far across the sea

Is that you who’s watching me?

Tonight you’re on my mind

Still it’s you I’ve yet to find

Count the days until my last

Hash marks tell a lonely past.

For I guard this distant shore

As our cultures wage their war

Take a dream and twist it round

Above this city’s tired ground

A silent earthquake shakes the moon

Leaves my scared, young heart in ruin


[Written the night of Saturday, December 5th in the Yokohama penthouse suite of my first host family's son. I sat up late at night overlooking the distant lights of Tokyo, the coming ships in the harbor below, and counting the passing trains as they faded and flickered far beneath my feet. I was quite homesick at the time, wishing I had a host family I could relate to, pondering what exactly I was doing with my exchange]



Of Tokyo,

My steel spear buildings

Pierce through Fortune’s paradise

And I weep for I raised this city,

I sparked an ancient fire

That I watch smolder

On this dark



I will have left this,

The land of the raising sun,

I pray that from these city ashes

Sea sent winds breathe golden flames

Who dare flare skyward

Once more to



[Begun that same night, December 5th, I remember looking across the jagged skyline, wondering what forests, rivers, creeks, and hills had been sacrificed in the name of Civilization, in the name of Tokyo. This poem was meant to be a haiku, 5-7-5, but it soon grew, becoming a complex: 1-3-5-7-9-7-5-3-1-3-5-7-9-7-5-3-1 style poem. Haha =) Once more proving that I can't do anything small]


The Color

Heart pounding in a bed that smells like dust,

My body shivers, yet it isn’t from lust,

I rest my young bones in a cot old as time,

On a pillow whose dreams all billow in rhyme

Like the flecks and specks that erupt in the air

My imagination flies upward, shot like a flare.

Colors far brighter than ought to be in this room

Race over the bedspread with a zip and a zoom

They tangle the curtains, the dye the walls limitless

I see the whole universe on this midnight of vigilance

There are flames in the heavens and clouds down in hell,

Much more to this planet than she would let tell,

Such are the secrets I stole from the night,

Truth sung like warm quilts, all bundled up tight,

It’s a cold house, this dark place, without any light,

But a dreamer with vision can make it shine bright.


[Written towards the beginning of January, 2010. I remember lying in a cold, dark bed, wondering what inspires a person's dreams. I slowly dozed off, but it seemed to me that as sleep pressed itself down upon me I had a sense of warmth and color, knowing that that night, just as every other, I would be free to roam the unlimited possibility of my imagination once more]