Friday, August 27, 2010

More Mori, Onegaishimasu!

While in Tokyo a few weeks ago we visited the Mori Art Museum in Roppongi, which is fast becoming our favourite major gallery in Japan. Our last visit (for Roppongi Crossing 2010: Can There Be Art?) was really great and this time we happened upon an incredible exhibition called Sensing Nature.

Three Japanese artists showed works intended to examine the link between man and nature in modern Japan.

"Snow" by Yoshioka Tokujin. A giant glass box filled with feathers and hidden fans that re-created the movement of a snowstorm.

Another work by Tokujin. This one is called "Waterfall".

Takashi Kuribayashi created a double layered forest, which you could walk around under and peek through like a woodland creature.

And he also contributed "Island", a solid and imposing work which sought to illustrate how much of the Earth we don't see.

Taro Shinoda, for one of his works, created a circular pool from above which droplets of water were timed to fall at exactly the same time, creating splashes that formed an image of part of the Milky Way. It was beautiful, but couldn't be captured in a photograph.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Finding Jesus

On our way back from Osorezan, we decided to follow up on a strange rumour that we'd heard amongst Sendai ALTs -- that the body of Jesus Christ was buried somewhere in Aomori.

The story goes as follows: in 1935, some scriptures were discovered in Shingo, Aomori, which were supposedly signed by Jesus himself. The scriptures said that, at the age of 21, Jesus came to Japan to study religion for 12 years. After returning to Judea and doing all of that well known Bible stuff, he switched places with his younger brother, who did him quite the fraternal favour by being crucified in Jesus' place.

JC then wandered the globe, apparently visiting Siberia and Alaska before settling in Shingo, where he married a Japanese woman, had three daughters, and died at the ripe old age of 106.

Of course! And we saw it. A couple of burial mounds with crosses above them, one containing the body of Christ, one a memorial to his brother.

The museum at the site had some very old, slightly frightening dummies made up to look like Jesus and his family.

There are several other supposed proofs that Jesus lived and died here, including the tradition of painting a cross on the foreheads of newborn babies, the existence of a local folk song made up of gibberish that sounds faintly Hebrew-ish, and the seal of the area being a star a little bit similar to the Star of David.

Of course, no original copy of the scriptures is known to exist now. And should we skip over the theory that the mayor of Shingo was looking for a way to boost interest in his town at the time of the documents' discovery? Still, it was an interesting diversion on our trip home, and hey, it did get us to visit Shingo.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Mount Fear

A few weeks ago we went to the far north of Honshuu, to Aomori, for a festival of the dead at Osorezan (literally "Mount Fear").

The area is known as the gateway to Hell, where the souls of the dead pass on to the afterlife. It is also known as the place where the souls of dead children wait for their parents. The children's souls are said to make new piles of rocks every day to keep themselves entertained. Parents leave offerings of windmills, snacks and money.

We left a miniature taiyaki, a sweet, fish-shaped waffle filled with custard.

It is also said you can communicate with the dead via mediums, elderly blind women who have been trained from a young age to speak to the souls of those passed away.

With all the sulphurous pools it was clear how the area got its reputation as the Japanese equivalent of the River Styx.

Monday, August 9, 2010

making things

It's summer holidays at the moment so there is not a lot happening at school.
Plenty of time for making things.

My new favourite crochet pattern - Larksfoot.
Inspired by the lovely Pip

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday...

We sing this song to our primary school kids. I want to find some way to introduce them to the Hulkster's version though.

Watch Ahnuld become some sort of mecha-Mothra thing to advertise a drink. I don't really know.

Classic early nineties Keanu Reeves!

This is incredible. Nic Cage at his hammy best. TRIP-LETS?!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Nvr 2 late 2 celebrate

Our friends Christa and Justin were married way back in March, and they sent these lovely paper balloons out in the post for friends and family to light in lieu of attending the wedding. Ours arrived late, then we took too long setting it off, and then we sat on the photos for a long time until finally here we are. The photos are in reverse for dramatic effect maybe?

Congratulations, guys!