Sunday, October 25, 2009

Back home

Friday, October 16, 2009

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Yamagata fairwell

at Yamagata
is a festival of film
ideas, dreams,  flash by

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Yamagata farm

Today we visited a Yamagata farm with orchards of fruit trees and also chickens.

We went with Tetsuro and Kaoru and had breakfast with the farmer/poet and his wife and son Saito-san who had organised our visit to their home! Wonderful hostpitality and a beautiful breakfast of produce from the farm including chrysanthemum petals. All in a room overlooking a stream so we had the breeze and sounds floating over us as we ate.

Tetsuro played a Spanish composition called Tear on his guitar

Monday, October 12, 2009

Tanaka-san will not do callisthenics

12 October 2009 15:10

Tanaka-san Will Not Do Callisthenics is showing at the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival in the New Docs Japan section:
"Presenting ten films that penetrate Japanese society from multiple perspectives, by accomplished directors including those who reside abroad, and those who originate from abroad. The gazes and expressions of filmmakers who continue tackling documentary film—that experiment in memory of the past—resonate in the land of Yamagata."
The theatre was full ... mainly Japanese who loved the film.

Tanaka-san and his wife Kaoru-san were there too so we all experienced the film together for the first time in Japan! Hard to beat! After the showing there was thunderous applause and Tanaka-san sang outside for an admiring crowd.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Basho: haiku poet and swaggie

Basho Museum

Matsuo Basho was born at the beginning of the Edo period in 1644 in present-day Akasaka, Ueno City, Mie prefecture. As a youngster he served the family of Todo Shinshichiro, a samurai general in charge of the Iga region. During this period he attended to Todo Yoshitada. Yoshitada, who acquired the haikai name of Sengin, enjoyed writing in verse, and as a consequence Basho also came into contact and grew fond of haikai.

However, it was only after Yoshitada passed away and Basho left the Todo family home that he decided to take the haikai path in earnest. The break from the service of the samurai family awoke Basho to the freedom of the haikai world as he set out on his new journey. At the age of 28, Basho compiled an anthology of verses in a book entitled the Kai Oi (Shell Matching), which he dedicated to the Ueno Tenjingu (Ueno Tenjin Shrine), place of the Ubusunagami (god that protects the land of one's birth).

After this Basho left for Edo (present-day Tokyo), and evolved his own haikai style. The trend at the time was to write in a comical and fanciful style, but Basho, dissatisfied with this kind of haikai, attempted his own style that would truly touch the hearts of all people, regardless of era. Subsequently, Basho began to reveal an entirely new world of haikai.

Basho began with the journey Nozarashi-Kiko (Records of the Weather-Exposed Skeleton) in 1684, followed by others, as depicted in Kashima-Kiko (Visit to the Kashima Shrine), Oi no Kobumi (The Records of a Travel-Worn Satchel) and Sarashina-Kiko (A Visit to Sarashina). In 1689, Basho left his hermitage in Fukagawa and set out on another journey from the Tohoku region to the northern provinces of Honshu. It is this experience that provided material for his famous work Oku no Hosomichi (The Narrow Road to the Deep North). Apparently, it was also during this journey that Basho began thinking in more philosophical terms about life, travel and poetry. The Narrow Road to the Deep North ended in Ogaki, Gifu prefecture, after which Basho returned to his beloved home in Iga. He moved back to Edo once more in 1691.

Three years later he set his mind once more on traveling, and set out for kyushu. Basho became ill on the way, and died in Osaka on 12th October 1694. He was 50 years of age.

Peter Neilson sent this:
'From An Introduction To Haiku by Harold G. Henderson:

In 1694 Basho died, and died as he would have wished, on one of his beloved wanderings, and surrounded by many of his friends and pupils. During his last illness he was constantlydiscussing religion and philosophy and poetry (three things that were almost one to Basho), and when it became evident that he was dying his friends asked him to give them a “death poem” - the sum of his philosophy. Basho refused, on the ground that every poem in his last ten years...had been composed as if it were a death poem. But on the next morning he called them to his bedside, saying that during the night he had dreamed, and on waking a poem hed come to him. And he gave them:

On a journey, ill,
     and over  fields all withered, dreams
               go wandering still.

Surely as lovely a farewell as any poet ever gave to the world.'


Unions for Nuclear Disarmament

UNI Global Union is holding its World Congress in Nagasaki, Japan, in November, 2010. Ahead of the Congress, UNI has launched a major initiative to support peace and nuclear disarmament.

UNI believes the common goal of the world’s working people -- to have a decent job that enables individual and family income security to sustain life, health and happiness in caring societies-- must be built on the bedrock of peace, tolerance and understanding.

UNI, together with Japanese trade union organisation RENGO and GENSUIKIN (Japan Congress Against A and H-Bombs), KAKKIN (National Council for Peace and Against Nuclear Weapons) and the International Trade Union Confederation, is part of an international campaign against nuclear weapons.


Sunday, October 04, 2009

Mercedes Sosa: 1935-2009

Argentine folk singer Mercedes Sosa, who fought South America's dictators with her voice and became a giant of contemporary Latin American music, has died aged 74, her family said in a statement.

One of the best known names in Latin American music, she had been in intensive care in a hospital for days with kidney problems.

Her body was taken to the Congress building in Buenos Aires for public visitation Sunday afternoon (local time) and her remains are to be cremated today, local media reported.

Known affectionately as La Negra - 'the Black One' due to her dark hair and skin - Sosa was dubbed "the voice of the silent majority" for championing the poor and fighting for political freedom.

Her version of Violeta Parra's Gracias a la Vida (Thanks to Life) became an anthem for leftists around the world in the 1970s and 1980s when she was forced into exile and her recordings were banned.

"Her undisputed talent, her honesty and her profound convictions leave a great legacy to future generations," her family said in the statement posted on her website.

The breadth of her powerful voice earned her plaudits abroad and popularity at home and she cut a striking figure with her long hair and trademark ponchos at live shows into her 70s.

In the turbulent 1960s and 1970s Sosa was a key exponent of the highly politicised Nuevo Cancionero (New Song) movement, which sought to take folk music back to its roots.

She also was a member of the Communist Party and her political sympathies attracted attention from the authorities during Argentina's bloody 1976-83 dictatorship, when up to 30,000 people were killed in a crackdown on leftist dissent.

State censors banned her songs and she fled to Europe in 1979 after being arrested in the middle of a concert along with the entire audience in the university city of La Plata.

She frequently asserted herself as a woman of the left but maintained that her only true vocation was singing.

"Really, I was born to sing," she said in a magazine interview in 2005.

"My life is dedicated to singing, finding songs and singing them.

"If I get myself involved in politics, I'd have to neglect what's most important to me, the folk song."


Friday, October 02, 2009