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 called I believe Bon odori. We missed the Ikebana but at the concert hall we stayed for a few hours and watched the dances. Based loosely on Noh music and other Japanese dramatic forms, these dances are performed by woman and tell stories through mime and and movement. The first thing that struck me was that watching the dancing helps one to understand Japanese traditional music better as the movements of the dance are almost in perfect harmony with the rhythm of the musical pieces.
The other thing I noticed was the sleeves of the Kimono when the arms are raised form a complete picture or decorative scene as if the wearer was a walking living painting or work of art. It seems as if the Kimono is not just a piece of beautiful clothing but a pictorial codex and the wearer a bearer of such a codex. The body itself becomes a device for storytelling through symbolism and decoration and signs.
The day before yesterday we returned to Shinjuku again and I spent most of the day filming in and around the area. Got some more material which hopefully will be useful. Night stuff especially good. I tried to find DVDs of the Japanese director Teinosuke Kinugasa who made the film "A page of Madness which is considered one of the early masterpieces of Japanese avant-garde cinema. It hasn't been released on DVD, in fact none of his films have been released on DVD. Fist one will be in April 2008. Yesterday we went to a new office tower complex by the river. It also would be a good place to film. Natasha was there for and Ikebana demonstration. We're both very tired so we are taking a day off today and just resting. We wont do much and just get ready for tomorrow - visit to Kamakura, temple complex just outside Tokyo.