Showing posts from September, 2010

Japanese days - Gion, Kyoto

27/11/2007 Wed Achieved a lot in The last few days since last entry. Spent an entire day at Gion, a region in Kyoto not far from us which seems mainly for Japanese locals. Originally it was a Geisha region but now it is a place for shopping as well although the Geisha district still remains. Went to a tourist show of various traditional Japanese performance arts. Not very good. Later had a traditional Japanese meal  Shabi Shabi in a restaurant in the Gion District. Day before yesterday we went to Imperial Villa Tenri Riyku. Beautiful gardens which I filmed as much as possible. Got some good material I think despite being hustled along by attendants. Yesterday we went to the Hosia Museum which houses the Sekka Rimpa collection. We have the books of his work which we bought in Tokyo the first time I was in Japan but to see this material close up is so much better and striking.

Japanese days - Last days in Kyoto

01/12/2007 Saturday   Back in Tokyo after two weeks in Kyoto. Some last minute photos and then we checked out of the hotel and got a taxi to the station. There we had a meal in the hi tech architecture of Kyoto station itself. The architecture is built with metal, concrete and glass but the view from the upper floor looks out onto the distant mountains through a curving network of steel girders which echo the form and lay of the mountains themselves. Its another example in my view of the combination of architecture and natural landscape which the Japanese have used in the design of their living spaces since ancient times and still continues today long before modern architects grasped this concept. A wide eleven story staircase  sweeps down from the top floor to the ground floor offering a vast vista of the cavernous interior of the main station area. From Kyoto we of course got on the wrong train because we were rushing and were both quite tired. The wrong train went to Tokyo in any c

Japanese Days - Back in Tokyo and hot sake

02/12/2007 Sunday   Back in Tokyo. Spent most of yesterday resting at home, then in the evening went out and found a cheap nearby restaurant which served up huge portions of Japanese food. Walked further on  to a bridge which crosses Sumida gawa and along the wide toe path which borders the river. Saturday night and so quiet - nobody to be seen except for a flotilla of river boats with dimly lit lanterns on each side going up and down the river. Lit up statue of Basho visible, despite its small size, on the far side of the river. 03/12/2007 Monday   Met Akira san at the metro and went to the open air antique market not far from where we are living on Suitengumae and set in the grounds of a temple. Prices quite high but numerous relics form bygone Japanese times, even an ancient saddle was for sale as well as old Japanese tools ( I have no idea what they might be used for) and vases and prints. What took my eye was old scrolls of Japanese writing which look as if they have come straig

Japanese Days - Asakusa

04/12/2007 Tuesday.   Today we went to Asakusa. We didn't really know what to do with ourselves and after sending a parcel to someone in Moscow we decided to go there for the rest of the day. Cold and crowded but still a beautiful place to go. They have refurbished the temple complex and it looks in very good condition now. Received an e-mail from Akira san this morning and he found the site with the film on. He suggested I give a copy to his friend (Also Mr Suzuki) who owns a gallery in Tokyo and where we had a personal showing of the painting by Burliuk "Oshima" which was a remarkable  experience last time we were in Tokyo. He also suggested sending a copy to Mrs Samidu on Osagawara. She runs the cultural department on the Island and we met her when we visited the Island a few years ago. Kapitonenko who heads up the David Burliuk Foundation in the Ukraine is a different story and we will write to him and see what he says. Sent a copy to Mary Holt as Akira san suggeste

Japanese days - Izu Osezaki Peninsular

09/12/2007 Sunday,   Just returned from the Izu Osezaki Peninsular where I went diving. The diving experience is something else but the place where we were diving was extremely beautiful and I and Natasha made the most of it, filming and photographing as much as possible. The part where we were is about a 20 minute train ride form Mishima. Its not hard to get there but if you don't know the way it can be quite stressful making all the connections and arriving in time for a bus which would take us to the dive site. We managed to make the bus which wound along a coastal road with step hillsides and incredible views of the wide bay. After about ten minutes a fantastic vista of Fujiyama opens up on the right hand side, truly a magnificent sight. Managed to get some decent footage of this which could also be seen from the dive site. It was often obscured by clouds but I think I have got some good stuff. Then we walked around the small peninsular near the site. There is an old temple wi

Japanese days - Outings, Galleries, Museums and Filming

11/12/2007 Reading articles about Japanese Film Directors and these relation to western film  and Japanese society.   Yesterday walked around a park not far from where Basho spent much of his time in Tokyo and not far from where we live. I think it is called Kiyobashi park but I need to check.   It might be worth contemplating that because Japanese culture has many of its sources in nature, its culture cannot be appropriated completely by an ideology because nature always, so to speak, in Japanese culture at any rate has the upper hand or at least the last say. Its a thought worth pursuing.   Some thoughts on Basho's poetry - Those three line poems are appropriate to those fleeting moments of inspiration, moments which seem like a second or a micro second but contain a volume of  information which far outweighs the particle and so for this reason we would refer to it as quality rather than quantity or the place where quality and quantity interface (I'm not sure myself) but cer

Japanese Days - Meetings in Tokyo

15/12/2007 Day before yesterday went to Shinjuka after meeting with Ulia, a relative of one of Natasha's students. Shinshuka is about ten stops up from us on the Maronouchi Line. She took us there and showed us where there was a good book shop for foreigners. There we bought several books for studying Japanese and I bought some books about Basho. Just looking at the characters and learning about them is fascinating. One thing I noticed, the character for madness or lunacy is a combination of the character for a king and a dog. This is to imply the the king is a mad dog. It reminded me of the mad king in Shakespeare's Lear and led me to wonder if there is some common archetype at work as it seems that Shakespeare was unlikely to know Japanese. I am struck by how pictorial these characters are. I knew this already but when you actually start to study them there are all kinds of echos and resonances which require a great deal of thought.   Yesterday met with an other woman, Tatia

Japanese days - Checking filming locations

16/12/2007   Met with Michiko yesterday and we walked around with Natasha and myself for a couple of hours and then visited the Rikugien Gardens in Tokyo. It is lit up at night in such away that the trees and other features appear as sculpted shapes. The whole effect takes on enchanted and other world appearance as the light brings out the colours and features of the gardens so that they are seen in a completely new aspect from that which would  be presented during day time. It is typical of the gardens from the Edo period and is  pond and mountain style garden based on a waka poem from the  15th year of the Genrouko period (1702). Afterwards we came back home to Suitengumae and had a meal together.    Today, early this morning we took the JR train out to Minami Urawa, which is almost at the end of some line  in east Tokyo. It took about an hour. It always amazes me how quiet the streets are here in Tokyo. There was an Ikebana display there plus Japanese traditional dancing which is c