Showing posts from November, 2013

Note From The Dear Old Moss Temple, Kyoto

Just a personal note here from Koinzan Saihoji, the Moss Temple of western Kyoto, which I had reason to visit today. Didn't know it was the site of a villa (abode? hut? cottage? retreat?) of Prince Shotoku, then lots of water under the bridges, then more gardening mumbo-jumbo until Zen priest Muso took up residence and constructed this marvelous place. But I digress. But before I stop digressing, I should add that 120 kinds of moss thrives here, something for all of you fans of biological diversity. I have had reason to visit it frequently, as a matter of fact, and they recognize me there. Today, the kind fellow in a distinguished cloak greeting us at the gate to check if we have the proper post card which allows us to enter or not, later found me sitting in one of the garden's many resting places. He approached me and asked, again as a matter of fact, if I knew the Swedish lyrics of jazz standard Dear Old Stockholm . Well, there I am, enjoying the 120 different kinds of

Shimakura Chiyoko RIP - Jinsei Iro Iro

A great enka singer has passed away and it was big news. Her tunes were in movies from the 1950s, and here is her big hit, Jinsei Iro Iro. 死んでしまおうなんて 悩んだりしたわ バラもコスモスたちも 枯れておしまいと 髪を短くしたり 強く小指をかんだり 自分ばかりを責めて 泣いてすごしたわ ねぇおかしいでしょ 若いころ ねぇ滑稽(こっけい)でしょ 若いころ 笑いばなしに 涙がいっぱい 涙の中に 若さがいっぱい 人生いろいろ 男もいろいろ 女だっていろいろ 咲き乱れるの I once wanted to die and I was really in trouble. I needed no roses nor cosmos flowers and wished they would all die away. I often cut my hair short and bit my finger. I thought I would be blamed alone and kept crying all day long. Don't you think now that was youth itself? There were things so funny when we were young. We cried so often for every story. And there was always a lot of youth in our tears. There are many kinds of men and there are many kinds of women. So we women are once in a while free to enjoy our lives. (...) Here is a rare live version with Mori Masako (left). Mori-san breaks down, the lyrics must be too cl

"Japan Is So Rich"

Do watch the TED talk video, I have to share this post from Ten Thousand Things : Alex Kerr's beautiful old/new Japanese country houses and the movement to save traditional Japan Great talk and breathtaking photos by author and historic preservationist Alex Kerr at TEDx in Kyoto on his mission to save Japanese country houses. Japan is so rich: the natural environment, the fantastic traditional culture, the wealth of beauty and materials and spirit of lifestyle that you find in these old places. It's there and it can be saved. Kerr uses double-paned windows for energy conservation. If his country houses were updated for solar, renewable energy, that would be even more modernizing, given 3/11's call to shift, downsize energy usage. The reason small towns in Japan (and elsewhere) are experiencing depopulation is because they were built around local (agricultural, fishing) economies that have been collapsing under the global food industry'

Protest Against New State Secrecy Law

If you wish to protest against Japan's proposed State Secrecy Law, this is your chance. NGOs are asking people to send fax or mail messages to opposition politicians who are trying to stop the bill: Please send a message to express your concern about the new State Secrecy Law by November 7, 2013 The proposed State Secrecy Law will most likely be adopted this week by Japan’s Parliament, where the LDP can get a majority together with Komeito. However, many opposition lawmakers are trying to rally against the bill. They need your support! Please express your concern for how this new Law may violate people’s right to know. The clauses in the proposed Law are very vague on what exactly a “state secret” may be. It goes against democratic principles and at different events, answers to questions have not been properly answered. We call for citizens and people living in Japan to send the following demands to the leaders of the oppositions parties: 1. The proposed National S

Kaori Kobayashi - Free

I just love this tune. Free, now that is a word that we all need to consider more carefully. We need to stay free, stay cool, develop our aura, find ways to master the way of forgiveness, and maybe how to forget. And maybe how to find a way to continue to give. Not just let go but also hang on to the important stuff. Anyone has a better way to define "free" in words? Maybe it cannot be done. I am glad we have gals like Kaori Kobayashi giving it a try, musically.

Miles Davis - Time After Time

Enjoy your Culture Day evening, everyone. First, Miles Davis, from a performance in Tokyo 1987. Some 8 minutes of pure loveliness. (Thanks Per Bodner for the Miles Davies biography.) Then, if you think you like jazz, finding his performances in Tokyo and Kyoto back in 1964 is a real treat. From back before everything went electric. Herbie Hancock on piano, Ron Carter on bass, and Tony Williams on drums. Sam Rivers on altsax. Here are the tracks (click on the mp3 files for the sound): Tokyo, July 12, 1964: Kyoto, July 15, 1964: Found here . Isn't the Internet amazing?