Sunday, August 27, 2006


Ro is a transparent silk worn during summer, distinguished by it's ladderlike weave. It looks cool but it's silk (a phenomenal insulator)for crying out loud! It's still warm, especially combined with an underrobe. I hadn't even put the obi on and I was sweating gallons.

The Japanese are big on season clothes. Ro is only worn during the month of August (the hottest month). So you wear this particular silk as well as wearing light, bright colors, so you will project "coolness." Even if you are ready to drop dead of heat exhaustion (like me here) you look cool and carefree to everyone else and that's what matters. Crazy Japanese.

Here I am on my way to my part-time job selling kimono. My obi is also made of ro. The koi (carp) on the obi is very similar to the koi tattooed on my right ankle. Eiko-san thought that it was hysterical I bought an obi to match my tattoo. The pattern on the kimono is sakura (cherry) blossoms, so I always think of Sly (who is smart enough NOT to wear hot clothing in the summer) when I wear it. I was hot and crabby and totally ready to give someone the beat-down with my bangasa (oiled paper parasol) but Chris wisely kept out of range while snapping the pictures.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Odate Trip

On August 16 and 17, Chris and I went to Odate. Odate is a town in Akita prefecture, located about 3 hours north of Misawa. Mr. and Mrs. Aizawa live there, and they invited us to spend a some time with them and their family, enjoying the festival there.

Photos on flickr.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Bling Bling Buddha

I've been late in posting this.

Sly had a gift waiting for me upon my post-triathlon triumphant return to Japan. A very heavy Buddha, who was presented wearing Mardi Gras beads! Sly and a buddy wanted to deck him out more (maybe with some bling-bling for his grill?) but they got tired out so he had to be happy with just beads. Sly and Co. probably got tired just moving him around, since I think he's made out of cast iron. Kore wa sugoku omoi desu yo! (It is amazingly heavy!) While Bling Bling Buddha is not quite Ghetto Fabulous, he sure is stylin' in his own right.
I put him in my genkan (foyer) so whenever someone comes in, the first thing they see in my house is a happy face. He's usually the last thing to be seen as a person exits, so that's nice too.
To my grow my Buddha's bling collection, I added my "victory" talisman from Naritasanji Temple (it was tied to my bike during my triathlon), a seashell necklace from Hawaii and a Daimonji good luck charm from the Daimonji festival in Odate, which I attended last week (I need to get the pictures up for that, too). The stuff from Hawaii represents my happiness during vacation and at meeting my triathlon goals and the Daimonji charm represents happiness from having a loving Japanese family for friends.
If you have something that represents happiness to you and you would like to present it to my Bling Bling Buddha to wear, send it to me! I will deck him out and post a picture. You can email me for the address here (handled thru the US Post Office, so it's just like sending something in the continental US).
Actually, closer examination of the happy guy leads me to think that he's one of the Shichifukujin or Seven Lucky Gods. The Shichifukujin--Ebisu, Daikokuten, Bishamonten, Benzaiten, Fukurokuju, Jurojin, and Hotei--are traditionally believed to bring good fortune and happiness to people. The Shichifukujin are kind of an amalgamation of Buddhist and Shinto deities. I think, given his big belly, big smile and big bag, that my guy is Hotei.

By the way:
Hotei (Tomoyasu Hotei) is also the name of amazing Japanese rock guitarist, sort of like an Asian Van Halen. Check him out in
Samurai Fiction, he's also got acting chops!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


I have been told I owe everybody an apology.

Dear World:

I am so very sorry.

15 Aug 06 Entry for Explanation

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Shodo Calligraphy

Having "conquered" kitsuke, I finally found a Shodo instructor who will take me on as a student! That only took two years. I've had all the stuff (brushes, paper, pad, etc) for quite some time (I bought it all in a burst of enthusiasm after taking a free introductory course last year) and as of last weekend, I had been sorely tempted to donate it all to the local thrift shop. I'm glad I didn't--I have my first lesson tomorrow.

Wikipedia has a really nice article about Shodo. I can give you my account of my first lesson tomorrow.