In episode 8 of Hoozuki no Reitetsu several facts about a certain Edo period artist, Hokusai, were mentioned. Even if you do not recognize his name, you are probably familiar with his world-famous print The Great Wave off Kanagawa.
What I like the most about watching Hoozuki no Reitetsu are precisely these snippets of information about the Japanese culture. I really appreciate the meticulousness with which the translators and editors subtitle it. There are so many Buddhist terms, so I expect the research behind this to be exhausting.
The series itself is not particularly special — some may even say it is substandard — but I really enjoy learning about the various mythical creatures, religion and folklore through anime. I don’t intend to talk about the series today, so for more information please see its ANN entry. News flash: Hoozuki no Reitetsu is getting a second season this fall!
I hope you’ll join me, fellow art lovers, otaku and other interested readers~
I want to rectify a misconception about the highest mountain in Japan, Mount Fuji.
Written 富士山, the last character means mountain, which is read yama when stand-alone. When a part of a “word” though (the on-yomi), it is read san. So this san means mountain, it’s not an honorific as someone could have thought — Fuji-san!
Whenever I encounter haiku in the Western world, the given definition is always along the lines of unrhymed three-line poem with seventeen syllables (written in a 5-7-5 syllable count), often about nature. Sometimes the theme is omitted. In reality there is much more than that to this traditional Japanese form of poetry. I’ll try to avoid boring you with its history and write mainly about the main principles one should follow when writing haiku.
Google doodle for the 250th birthday of Issa, one of the four haiku masters
Do you remember that post about Nakagin Capsule Tower in Tokyo I wrote 7 months ago?
Back then I seem to have missed a certain photography project called 1972 by Noritaka Minami. It comprises a total of 24 shots documenting the tower’s derelict condition in 2011 and 2012. See one sixth of it below or visit the project’s page for more.
The artist Noritaka Minami is interested in applying the medium of photography as a means of investigating history and memory associated with sites. He currently works as a TA in Photography at the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University.
Nakagin Capsule Tower, Tokyo is a beautiful example of modular architecture by a well-known architect Kisho Kurokawa. Simple, compact cuboids clustered around two concrete needles must have looked straight out of a science fiction story when they were built. Completed in 1972, the structure is rather old for a building and its age (and poor to none maintenance) has been becoming obvious in the past years. Not to mention worries have been expressed as to potentially harmful levels of asbestos, well-known for its numerous positive properties in the building industry and later discovered to cause serious damage to humans’ internal organs, especially lungs, upon inhalation.
Both of the towers – one has 11 floors, the other 13.
Among Christmas presents I received this year was NonNonBa from my father. I had never heard of it before, but my dad has good taste.
NonNonBa is a manga about a little boy growing up in 1920’s Japan, going to school, playing war with the neighborhood boys and sneaking around poking his nose into adults’ matters and what-not. Nevertheless his day-to-day adventures are there only to complete the picture, at the center of which are his imaginative depictions of and stories about all sorts of Japanese yōkai. An old woman (called Nonnonba) in the village inspires him with tales of these traditional monsters, just like an elderly neighbor used to entertain the author, when he was a little child with an overabundance of ideas.