Tuesday, July 18, 2017

A view from Yuhintei Arbor



As it is generally true for many Japanese gardens, Shirotori garden also depicts the landscape of the central Japan, which is so crucial in talking about the history of this region.

The big fir tree and the stand of trees in the far distance represents the Kiso mountains in Gifu prefecture, which produces good quality of Japanese cedar lumber.
Pine trees along the river banks in the middle distance portray a fertile riverside district of rice paddies called the Suigo area in Aichi prefecuture.

With the woody hills in the far distance and the pine trees in the middle, the view from Yuhin-tei Arbor becomes much alive and dynamic as it is in real life.

Watching the colorful koi (carp) fish swimming and approaching gracefully is a special treat and is very relaxing.

Visitors are always fascinated by the grand view from here in every season, such as the cherry blossoms on weeping branches in spring, the hydrangea flowers in early summer, the autumn foliage and the pine trees tied with rope in winter.



Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The main gate to Shirotori Garden


Take a look at the entrance gate to Shirotori garden.
An interesting point to notice is the curve of the roof just above the entrance.
It is traditional Japanese carpentry work called 「唐破風」(karahafu).

Since elegant shapes were very much favored by feudal lords, it added more value to the building when this style was used.

There is another factor why it was often used at the entrance of traditional buildings such as castles, temples, shrines and palaces.

On rainy days, a curved line lets falling rain run to both ends of the curve, which prevents guests from getting wet from water running of the roof edge above the entrance.
So, the designer of the garden used this style for the benefit of visitors on rainy days.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

The way we name this little plant


 These flowers are called "lizard's tail" in English. Isn't it a "lovely" name? 
It was named so since the drooping flower depicts a lizard's tail, they say.


On the other hand, 半化粧 (はんげしょう)is a Japanese name for these white, slender and drooping flowers. The most beautiful part of this plant is that some leaves have white splashes on the surface as if a woman were putting powder on her face to meet her loved one. That is why we call it "han-ge-shou", which literally means " putting makeup on halfway" in Japanese.
So romantic, isn't it? They delighted my eyes this afternoon at Shirotori Japanese Garden.

Monday, July 03, 2017

To my favorite blogger ☆Sapphire

Her handle name is ☆Sapphire and her blog title is "Through the Sapphire Sky".

Dear ☆Sapphire,

If you happen to see this post,  please contact me.
I have been a fan of your blog for years and while I was away from blogging, it seems that you had changed your privacy setting only for bloggers with permission.
If possible I would like to get your permission.

Thank you in advance.

Mekkan

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Kabuki at a temporary theater in the Nagoya Castle grounds




The Heisei Nakamura-za, the most renowned troupe of kabuki performers, came back to the Nagoya Castle grounds for the first time in 8 years!
Tickets were quickly sold out.

That just goes to show how people have been waiting for their next performance at a temporary theater, especially after the troupe had lost their main actor to cancer. His name was Kanzaburo Nakamura XVIII, and he was just 58 years old at his death. He put his all his energy into revitalizing the traditional atmosphere which a temporary theater brings to an audience; just the way kabuki used to be.

Unlike many modern kabuki theaters with advanced technologies, this type of theater is a temporary one, and after a run, it will be taken away. This was common in the olden days when a troupe visited rural towns and villages for a performance.



In general, a temporary theater is small but it has an advantage! You find yourself much closer to the stage. Your eyes meet your favorite actor's eyes when he stops on stage for an exaggerated, dramatic pose. It is very particular in kabuki performance.

Kabuki has a very unique style of stage performance, and has a long history of more than 400 years. Historical stories based on the era of the samurai warriors were performed by men-only troupes (they take the women's roles as well). The actors grow up and are trained in notable families of kabuki performers, as it has always been over the generations.

Dynamic stage settings and colorful, traditional costumes are eye-catching. The style of performance is elaborate and bold with lots of motion and sound. Kabuki actors, with their strong attachment toward Japanese traditional arts, have been entertaining people for centuries.


Now the Heisei Nakamura-za troupe is back again with Kanzaburo's two adult sons following in their father's footsteps. That day, in the temporary theater in the Nagoya castle grounds, the whole audience gave a big round of applause for the passionate kabuki performance.



Tuesday, March 14, 2017




An Upcoming Exhibition

You may have noticed that many English language versions of official website in Japan do not give readers much information. You may find that English pages hardly get updated. It's a shame.
So I am going to tell you about an interesting exhibition at a railway museum in Nagoya.


It's coming soon. It's a special exhibition on the history of shinkansen electrics and track inspection trains, aka "Doctor Yellow", at SCMAGLEV and Railway Park in Nagoya. "Doctor Yellow" is the nickname for an inspection train for bulletin train tracks. Since it does not carry passengers and doesn't run on a regular schedule, it always draws the attention of many railway fans, both young and old. The result is the superstition that it is good luck for people who catch a sight of it in operation.

The special exhibition "History of Doctor Yellow" will be from March 15 to September 25. Open 10:00 to 17:30. Closed on Tuesday. For more general information about the museum, check their English site. http://museum.jr-central.co.jp/en/