From Kyoto to Fukuyama (or How to have Luck in Japan without a Mobile Phone)

Contributed by Fritz Faust, 2013 Costume Workshop participant.

fritz_faustTime is passing and I can nearly see it running away from me. It is a good feeling as all good things go by so quickly. The first three days in Kyoto full of sun and information are also full of experiences that will stay in my mind.

First there is the feeling of being in Sasaki-san’s weaving room in the midst of hundred year old silk looms, the turning of the spinning wheels and all the colors of the cloth and threads, with a very special smell that I already forgot. Then the traditional Japanese room, in which the costumes are seamed together by a very nervous woman, not accustomed to having an audience, with a wonderfully simple way to answer questions and show us her handicraft.

The hours in the Medieval Japanese Studies Institute passing like a flash, us five students weaving, embroidering, applying gold and colors, and Monica Bethe, who explains simply everything with a lot of energy in a tangible and sensitive way: the history of the costumes, how they were dyed, which form they have, how they are combined, and more.

gaifman_faust_mooreIn the Nagakusa Embroidery, a villa free from the hot air of Japanese summer, very sweet sweets and a bitter refreshing tea, in which we learned besides embroidery also about the connections of Kyoto society, the connections which are not so apparent in art and handicraft, but which you get a faint idea of when speaking to Kyoto people.

Me at Kyoto central station, on the way to Fukuyama, being split from the rest of the group, trying to decipher the train information in Japanese, without a mobile phone or even a telephone number. The releasing view of Jubilith, who takes me to Fukuyama, fully aware of the train connections.

An incredible rehearsal in the No theatre in Fukuyama.

A first try to clothe someone in a No costume, pull up, adjust the edges, fold three times, fold two times, wrap around, tighten right and left, right over left at the backside, pull through behind everything, two times, lock it, loop. Being watched and taught by the Oshima familiy, who invited us warmly to their theatre; you can sense that they really care about people and things surrounding them and treat them gently and with respect.

So far a lot of experiences to think about, but these moments will definitely stay.


About Theatre Nohgaku

Noh, one of the oldest continuing stage arts, combines highly stylized dance, chant, music, mask and costume with intense inner concentration and physical discipline, creating a uniquely powerful theatrical experience. Theatre Nohgaku’s mission is to share noh’s beauty and power with English speaking audiences and performers. We have found that this traditional form retains its dramatic effectiveness in languages other than Japanese. We believe noh techniques hold a powerful means of expression in the context of contemporary English language theatre.
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