A digression from the recent Far East fare – some pictures taken today from a family (plus Chloe Honeyborne) trip to the park on Hale Road to get some poweriser practice in. The powerisers (strictly Pro-Jumps) were bought as a present for Esther and are this year’s alternative to pogo sticks. Once you get the hang of them you can leap over mountains in a single bound, do 100 successive backflips in one minute and other such amazing feats.
Getting Chloe strapped into the powerisers:
This picture is not as dodgy as it looks. It was Chloe’s first experience of the powerisers and it takes a while to get your balance. Early on you need to hold onto somebody if you want to avoid collapsing in a heap.
We did then find the Kodaiji Buddhist Temple. The site is quite large and boasts some extensive gardens as well as the various buildings, such as the Ihoan (teahouse). The teahouse has its own picture on Wikipedia. I think mine’s better composed, but then I would.
More pictures of the temple:
The gardens include an unusual “bamboo forest”:
We were there till closing time in late afternoon then made for the exit.
There is a large buddha in the complex but we couldn’t get to it because that section was then closed. All I could do was snap the top half over the fence. There is a picture of the whole buddha here (taken by another visitor 4 days later).
A Geiko outside the temple complex was kind enough to give her permission to let us photograph her.
In the evening we caught a show at the Gion Corner theatre. It is strictly for tourists, but offers up bite sized demonstrations of classic Japanese entertainments, neatly packaged up into a one hour show.
There is a demonstration of the famous tea ceremony. Far too fussy for my liking, not my cup of tea at all. The Gagaku court music was unlistenable. The Geishas playing the koto was interesting, more for the instruments themselves than the music. The koto looks like a log that has been cut in half and then strung. The Geishas sit on the floor to play it.
The section I found the most interesting and enjoyable was the bunraku. It’s like a cross between the Black Theatre of Prague and Julie Taymor’s staging of the Lion King. It’s puppet theatre where the puppets are large (although not quite lifesize) and the puppeteers are fully visible on stage. Some puppets need three or four puppeteers to work them. The piece we saw was an excerpt from the play where Oshichi climbs the fire tower, as mentioned in the Wikipedia link above. The way the Oshichi puppet is made to move in a lifelike way is utterly fascinating.
Actually, I found some video (someone else’s) on youTube (where else?) of the bunraku show at Gion Corner, featuring the Oshichi puppet:
And a bit more for luck – Oshichi’s getting quite agitated about her boyfriend in this one:
I took this portrait of Esther after she took part in the school biennial dance competition. The theme was Global Dance. Each class had to put on a dance to represent a chosen country. Esther’s class conceived and choreographed a dance representing a “Central African Republic”.
There is a video of the dance courtesy of Viki Cowan’s phone. The dance itself starts about 30s in.