snow and ice festivals (Japanese version only):
Monday, December 23, 2013
In Japan, there is a traditional custom to take a yuzuyu (yuzu citron bath), eat pumpkins and adzuki-gayu (rice gruel with adzuki beans) to prevent catching cold on the winter solstice.
Some aquariums prepare yuzu-bath for capybaras. They spend a lot of time wallowing in hot water. Capybaras are popular because they have a relaxed air.
Saitama Children's Zoo, Saitama Prefecture
They enjoy utaseyu (stream of water cascading onto one's back).
Saitama Children's Zoo
Saturday, December 7, 2013
Sorry for the late update. It's been almost a month since I last wrote on my blog.
Many things happened at home and abroad.
Christmas lights are shining bright.
Illumination spots in Japan(Japanese version only):
Kichirei Kaomise Kogyo(吉例顔見世興行, December Kabuki Program) is being held from November 30th to December 26th at Kyoto Minamiza Theatre. It's an annual kabuki program with an all-star cast of east(Tokyo) and west(Osaka, Kyoto). Sixty-one actors are performing this year.
November Kabuki Program Time Schedule:
You can see more information about Kichirei Kaomise Kogyo on the "Kabuki Web" site from SHOCHIKU's web site.
Maneki were put up above the theatre's entrance on November 25.
Maneki are hinoki cypress signboards on which actors' names and their family crests are written in a Japanese lettering style, Kanteiryu(勘亭流). The style leaves less blank space in hopes of being filled to the rafters.
Ichikawa Ennosuke IV and Ichikawa Chusha IX made the opening speech on this day. In this program, They made a statement of their succession to the name. Ichikawa Chusha IX(九代目 市川 中車) is the son of Ichikawa En'o II(former Ichikawa Ennosuke III) and is a cousin of Ichikawa Ennosuke IV(四代目 市川猿之助). He is very present as the actor Teruyuki Kagawa(香川照之). He has appeared in many TV dramas and films including a 2000 Chinese film "Devils on the Doorstep" (simplified Chinese: 鬼子来了) by Jiang Wen, a 2008 film "Tokyo Sonata" by Kiyoshi Kurosawa. At the Cannes Film Festival, Devils on the Doorstep won the Grand Prix in 2000, Tokyo Sonata did the Prix Un Certain Regard in 2008.
Chusha got shut of the kabuki world because of his parents' divorce. He went in to meet his father after becoming an actor. En'o told him that their parental bond had been broken and En'o never wanted to see him. En'o reconciled with his son through the effort of En'o's wife. En'o suffered cerebral infarction in 2003. En'o lived with Chusha's family for a period of time.
Most kabuki actors are trained from a very young age. Chusha is almost 50 years old, and had never been trained as a kabuki actor. There are many kabuki actors who take a dim view of him. However, he has contributed to ticket sales for kabuki performances.
Chusha wanted his son, now 9, to be a kabuki actor. He dared to start his career as a kabuki actor in order to back up his son. His son succeeded the name of Ichikawa Danko V.
Kichirei Kaomise Kogyo(December Kabuki Program) at Kyoto MINAMIZA Theatre
Matinee (from 10:30 AM) includes the following performances.
Itsukushima Maneku Hiogi -Himanegi no Kiyomori(厳島招檜扇 日招ぎの清盛, Kiyomori calls back the setting sun) performed by Kataoka Gato V(五代目 片岡 我當) and others.
Michiyuki Tabiji No Yomeiri(道行旅路の嫁入, The Bride's Journey) from Kanadehon Chushingura(仮名手本忠臣蔵) performed by Nakamura Tokizo V(五代目 中村 時蔵) and others.
Jiisan Baasan (ぢいさんばあさん, The Old Couple) performed by Ichikawa Chusha IX(九代目 市川 中車) and others.
Ninin Wankyu (二人椀久, Wankyu and Matsuyama) performed by Kataoka Takataro(片岡 孝太郎) and Kataoka Ainosuke VI(片岡 愛之助).
Takataro played the role of Emperor Hirohito in the film "Emperor". It is a 2012 American-Japanese post-World War II film directed by Peter Webber.
Ainosuke's father operated a screw factory. Ainosuke attracted the attention of Kataoka Nizaemon XIII when appearing in a TV drama as a child actor. He started to be trained as a kabuki actor, and became an adopted son of Kataoka Hidetaro II. He got a lot of visibility because he appeared in a popular TV drama this year.
Kawatsura Hogen Yakata(川連法眼館の場, The Kawatsura Hogen Mansion Scene) from Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura(義経千本桜, Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees) performed by Ichikawa Ennosuke IV(former Ichikawa Kamejiro), Sakata Tojuro IV(四代目 坂田藤十郎) and others.
Evening Show (from 4:15 PM) includes the following performances.
Ohama Goten -Lord Tokugawa Tsunatoyo(御浜御殿綱豊卿) from Genroku Chushingura(元禄忠臣蔵) performed by Nakamura Baigyoku IV(四代目 中村 梅玉) and others.
Kojo (a ceremony to announce that an actor takes a new stage name) by Ichikawa En'o II, Ichikawa Ennosuke IV, Ichikawa Chusha IX and Tojuro.
Kurozuka (黒塚, The Black Mound on the Adachi Plain) performed by Ichikawa Ennosuke IV and others.
Michiyuki Yuki no Furusato(道行雪故郷, Travel Dance to Hometown in Snow) from Ninokuchimura(新口村, Ninokuchi Village) performed by Sakata Tojuro IV(四代目 坂田藤十郎) and Nakamura Kanjaku V(五代目 中村翫雀).
Jiraiya(児雷也) performed by Nakamura Baigyoku IV(四代目 中村 梅玉) and others.