Archive | shamisen RSS feed for this section

Change

15 Jan

This great song is a collaboration between 吉田兄弟 (the Yoshida brothers) and Monkey Majik!

JapanNYC

15 Mar

Carnegie Hall in New York City, USA is currently having a festival of Japanese arts and culture that they call “JapanNYC” from 2011 March 14th until 2011 April 9th.

Some may feel that they should have canceled the event after the earthquake struck the Sendai area of Japan on 2011 March 11th…but Carnegie Hall decided to continue with the planned Japan festival in honor of the earthquake victims:

Everyone at Carnegie Hall was deeply saddened to hear the news of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on Friday. While plans for our JapanNYC festival proceed, we offer our thoughts and prayers to those affected. At this incredibly difficult time, we feel it is particularly important to pay tribute to Japan and its people through these festival events.

–Clive Gillinson, Executive and Artistic Director of Carnegie Hall, NYC

If you’re in the New York City area from now and April 9, you should consider checking out some of this event.
I’ve never seen a “Japan festival” in America but this one looks interesting. Among the scheduled events, they will have Taiko Drumming, Noh Theater and concerts led by the famous Japanese conductor Seiji Ozawa.

Here’s a promotion video for the event:

Yokoso Japan!

14 Jun

「ようこそジャパン」 (Yokoso Japan!) means “Welcome to Japan!“, and is the Japan National Tourism Organization‘s official slogan of their campaign to attract foreign visitors to Japan.

「Yokoso Japan!」 logo

「Yokoso Japan!」 logo

Here are some of their Yokoso Japan! campaign ads.

Most of the scenes in this first one are of Tokyo (there are a few shots of Osaka, etc…but most of it is Tokyo):

These show many parts of Japan:

Do they make you want to visit this beautiful country?

浮世絵

16 Nov

I like 浮世絵 (ukiyoe: Japanese woodblock prints).

Have you ever seen 浮世絵 (ukiyoe)?
It’s a traditional style of Japanese “painting“. Instead of using a brush, the picture is carved into woodblocks which are used like a printing press to make the picture.
But the whole picture isn’t carved into one block…different parts of the picture are carved into different blocks. So the picture is printed in layers.

It must have been alot of work!

I have seen a number of 浮世絵 (ukiyoe) exhibits at museums over the years.

As with many people, my favorite artists are 北斎 (Hokusai) and 広重 (Hiroshige).

One of the most famous (if not the most famous) 浮世絵 (ukiyoe) works is 神奈川沖波裏 (“The Great Wave Off Of Kanagawa“) by 北斎 (Hokusai):

wave1

I like that picture alot, too. But my personal favorites are the 妖怪 (monsters):

yokai2

浮世絵 (ukiyoe) subjects aren’t usually 妖怪 (monsters) though. Common themes of 浮世絵 (ukiyoe) are 相撲 (sumo), 歌舞伎 (kabuki), 芸者 (geisha) and 自然 (nature).

Anyways, this month, the 江戸東京博物館 (Edo-Tokyo Museum) in Tokyo is having a couple of special exhibits.

dscf3828

One is the 浮世絵 (ukiyoe) collection from The Museum Of Fine Arts, Boston of America, and the other is a 「浅草今昔」 (“Asakusa: Then And Now“) exhibit.

dscf3824 dscf3826

I went to see them yesterday. It was pretty crowded in the museum because it was a Saturday, but it was enjoyable. As I said, I like 浮世絵 (ukiyoe) and I also like 下町 (traditional downtown areas of Japan) like 浅草 (Asakusa).

The 浮世絵 (ukiyoe) in the exhibit from the Boston Museum were items that were from three American’s personal collections.

It was interesting to see the types of art that Americans like to collect compared to the types of 浮世絵 (ukiyoe) that a Japanese person might choose.
Americans seem to like the very colorful, almost flashy pieces…but Japanese tastes tend to be more simple. I’ve lived in Japan for awhile now…I guess my style is more Japanese now.
It’s just an observation. Not to say one culture is better than another…just interesting to compare.

Inside the museum, there are places that it’s indicated that it’s OK to take a photo…but the 浮世絵 (ukiyoe) and 浅草今昔 (Asakusa: Then And Now) areas were marked 「撮影禁止」, which means “No Photography Allowed”, so I couldn’t take any photos of those exhibits.

But there was a traditional Japanese dance show at the museum that I was able to take a few videos of.

dscf3844

I took eight short video of this group, and uploaded them to My YouTube Page. They’re pretty good, click here to visit my YouTube page and you can see all of my videos.

Here’s one video of them:

After the museum, we walked to 浅草 (Asakusa), and visited a Japanese Garden there.

dscf3871 dscf3872 dscf3874
dscf3877 dscf3878 dscf3882
dscf3891 dscf38911 dscf3897
dscf38981 dscf3908 dscf3942

There was a man at the Japanese garden playing a 三味線 (Shamisen) which is a traditional Japanese instrument.
I took this video of him:

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 195 other followers