Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Celestial Show in March

"Fly me to the moon and let me stay among the stars.
Let me see what spring is like on Jupiter and Mars"

-----Well, it was not Mars tonight but Venus.
If the clouds were clear, we could have seen the beautiful show of the trio---Venus and Jupiter aligning with the young crescent Moon in the west sky.

Unfortunately the sky in Nagoya tonight was covered with clouds.
I saw only brilliant Venus and the young crescent moon.
Yet I definitely saw Jupiter just below the moon in my heart.
We will enjoy the quartet adding Mars with tonight's three in 2015!
How romantic!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Left or Right

Every time I display the Hina Dolls on our house alcove in time for the Festival on March 3, my husband never fails to bring about a topic just like an annual event.
It's a matter of the position of the two dolls. One is the Emperor Doll and the other is the Empress Doll. Now when I place the two dolls, I always put the Emperor on left and the Empress on right on the display. If you have a chance to look at all those Hina dolls decorations at the department stores or in the Internet, you will see most of them follow this position. Most Japanese take it for granted that the Emperor Doll sits on the left and the Empress Doll on the right. But my husband has the different idea.

popular position

Kyoto position

If you visit Kyoto,the ancient capital over a thousand years, you will notice the position of the two dolls is opposite from the position of our own dolls at home-----left right reversal, so to speak.
My husband would rather follow the Kyoto position. Why? Because in the ancient aristocratic society of Kyoto, "left" is considered more superior, sacred and divine than "right" during our long history. So when the ancient loyal couple appeared to the public, the Emperor had a seat on his left side and the empress on his right side. This custom which was deeply connected with the Chinese philosophy. It had been practiced over centuries until the new government changed its custom when the Meiji Emperor was crowned in 1867 in Tokyo, the new capital.

There are some explanations on why this manner was changed to the reversal after a long history of left-dominated value. At that time the government was open its doors to the foreign countries. It is said that they followed the western style and modified the ancient habits to the new ones. They changed our rule in the name of “internationalization.” Since then, our Emperor and Empress have appeared in the same way like many other loyal couples in the western world. This also affected the position of the Hina dolls which represented the Emperor and the Empress. Most people applied the same rule even to the Hina Dolls. Hmm, that was a problem. The whole display accompanied by an ancient aristocratic custom was disturbed and meant nothing.

I just wondered if there is a universal rule in the world. I saw some images of the loyal couples in the Internet. The pictures I saw didn’t convince me that they had a definite rule in terms of the standing position for the loyal couples in the world. It seems that there are both or some cases are exceptions. If there is not an universal rule, our people wouldn't have made a mess in the Hina Dolls position today. I feel so grateful that people of Kyoto have kept our ancient value in Hina Dolls display without being disturbed by a fraud "internationalization” that the old government declared.

examples of the loyal poses
(click for a larger image)

By the way, as far as our Hina dolls are concerned, I’d rather have them stay in the same position, though. If I changed, they might complain with saying,
“ Yuck, what is this all about? We don’t feel at home. We don't want changes. "

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Listen ! Just a little sign of Spring will help us

It is often said that time heals one's sorrow but we have learned this is not true for people in Tohoku area at this moment. For many of them time has stopped since March 11, 2011.

The arrival of spring ----- it means very special to every Japanese this year, since many of those who met the huge disaster are now trying to make one step forward out of desperation, anger, and sorrow.

It was raining yesterday. It was chilly. And somewhere in my garden little guests called "Uguisu(Japanese bush warbler)" were singing on trees. In fact they showed up last week. They were too small for me to find on brances but their singing was so rich and clear. Their arrival is a sign of the spring.

It's ironic. We are just helpless against the mighty nature. However it is that nature that gives us lots of comfort and courage for the future.

For many victims time has stopped since then. Time never heals their minds. Yet I sincerely hope a sign of spring such as singing birds and cherry blossoms will tell people that they are "alive."