Saturday, April 29, 2006

Friday, April 28, 2006


Now that it's warmer and he's shedding, Bailey's hair is EVERYWHERE!!
It doesn't help that I tend to wear dark colours.
Lucky for him he's so cute!


Thursday, April 27, 2006


outside the Ichiriki Teahouse

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Miyako Odori

Book #12 - Memoirs of a Geisha

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

Rating: 4

Comments: It wasn't quite as mesmerizing as it was when I first read it a few years ago, but it's still a good story. It was especially fun to finish it while in Kyoto last week, where I got to see the Miyako Odori, the 'Cherry Blossom' Dance, performed each spring by the maiko and geiko of Gion, and then at dusk to see some maiko heading off to the Ichiriki Teahouse was very fun indeed!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Sei Shonagon...

(The Festival of Ages, Kyoto - October 2004)
...or at least as she might have been!

Friday, April 07, 2006

In Spring It Is the Dawn

Photo found here

In spring, it is the dawn. The sky at the edge of the mountains slowly starts to brighten with the approach of day, and the thinly trailing clouds nearby are tinted purple.

In summer, it is the night. It is of course delightful when the moon is out, but no less so on dark nights when countless fireflies can be seen mingling in flight. One even feels charmed when just one or two pass by, giving off a gentle glow. Rainy nights, too, are delightful.

In autumn, it is the evening. As the setting sun draws closer to the mountains, the crows hastily fly back to their nests in threes and fours and twos. Even more delightful is the sight of a line of geese flying far overhead. Then, after the sun has set, the crying of insects and the sound of the wind have a charm that goes without saying.

In winter, it is the early morning. Of course it is delightful when snow is falling, but even when there is a pure-white frost -- or in the freezing cold without either snow or frost -- the way the fire is hurriedly stirred up and coals carried to all the rooms seems most suited to the season. As the day wears on and the cold gradually loses its sharpness, the braziers go untended and the coals become coated with a disagreeable white ash.
From The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon

Book #11 - The Pillow Book

The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon
Translated and Edited from the Japanese by Ivan Morris

Written by the court gentlewoman Sei Shonagon, ostensibly for her own amusement, The Pillow Book offers a fascinating exploration of life among the nobility at the height of the Heian period, describing the exquisite pleasures of a confined world in which poetry, love, fashion, and whim dominated, while harsh reality was kept firmly at a distance. Moving elegantly across a wide range of themes including nature, society, and her own flirtations, Sei Shonagon provides a witty and intimate window on a woman’s life at court in classical Japan.
I like to think that if Sei Shonagon were alive today, she'd have a blog, and a fun one to read it would be too! Shonagon is at times petty, condescending, entertaining, outspoken, witty and always opinionated. It's amazing that what she wrote, a thousand years ago, can still resonate with today's reader. It's a wonderful glimpse into life at court in Heian Japan.
Morris' notes were very detailed and informative, definitely adding to the experience. I'm now one step closer to reading The Tale of Genji!

Read the first passage of The Pillow Book.

My rating: 4/5

Saturday, April 01, 2006