Freitag, 24. Oktober 2008

kamakiri and semi hear to see

if you want to hear our free interpretation of praying mantis or japanese cicada, visit my myspace-address:

kyoto full of water

it has been raining for three days in kyoto. luckily our guest house has lots of transparent umbrellas for everybody to use. yesterday we made a kyoto-marathon. under our umbrellas, we criss-crossed the city by visiting numerous shrines, temples and zen-gardens. bamboo, moss and pines in their various greens and the mountains around kyoto steaming out the dampness makes you feel you want to breath in the landscape. it was a fine walk but little bit too long. in the we were so exhausted that our legs hardly carried us back up to our tatami room.
today we just stayed in our cosy neighbourhood up in the north of kyoto. i visited an old onsen which happens to be opposite our place. there is almost nothing better in the world than to be sitting in the hot outside bath, surrounded by stones and pines and feel the rain pouring down on the steaming skin.

Freitag, 17. Oktober 2008

spider above the akiyoshidai skyline

in the backround you see the mountain with the cobwebed trail.

Montag, 13. Oktober 2008

temple dog

this is MIDORI-CHAN, a real japan dog. MIDORI CHAN is already 10 years old and lives in a small buddhist temple in the countryside. he never barks. his main occupation is to guard the temple and its 800-year-wooden sitting buddha silently. his past-time occupation is to be patient with the three small children of the temple's family. MIDORI-CHAN is also friends with a raccoon dog family (the famous TANUKI!). every evening the TANUKI mother with her kids is coming out of the forest to share MIDORI-CHAN's dinner cup outside the temple.

Sonntag, 5. Oktober 2008

places of spirit

we have visited many homes. we have been wellcomed by warm people who open their kitchens, gardens, tatami rooms and holy places for us. they guide us the through their rooms, reveal their best recipies and let us document a piece of their life.
we document pictures and sounds but i also wish we could capture the quality of air and smell. i have tuned myself and my field mike on every level of sound which is flowing in from all directions. cicadas seducing, kitchen knives cutting, mothers talking to themself, bells being shaked, nuts cracking, people laughing, radios and televisions sets singing on and on. and there in the middle of all this maybe one moment of silence and contemplation. the pictures of those places capture that moment.

Samstag, 27. September 2008

observed by nature

each day the japanese nature is revealing some new creatures and features. it is somewhat wilder than i remembered. last year i was almost every day climbing up the nearest mountain but this time i only did it once till now. one of the reasons is that the path is full of spider webs which cross the path in every possible angle. and the spiders are big. big and in various colors and types. their webs are full of victims. this all makes me hesitate. i don't want any physical contact with these spiders. the only way to proceed on the mountain trail, was to have a long stick with which i was breaking the webs in front of me and waiting for the spiders to move aside (which they did very reluctantly.) i made my way till the top of the mountain but i was bathed in sweat and somewhat mesmerized. furthermore, i felt like a coward being afraid of spiders!

there are lots of snakes as well. i respect them. this week we were observing one pretty impressive one with a beautiful ornament on his back. the snake was entering the stone pavement in front of our accomodation building. it coiled around a flower pot and thought himself hidden.

then the insects. we have been told that the end of summer is the high time for the insects. the most loud ones are the various cicadas in different pitches and melodies. some of them sound like garden machines, some like very fine bells. i have been recording their sound day and night. it is a wonder how their small bodies are able to produce such loud and fine sound! you almost never see the cicadas unless one drops dead in front of you. they only live seven days so it is possible. we found one and made a picture of it.
we also made a portrait of an other impressive insect which is the praying mantis. one day a dying mantis was right in front of joerg's dark room door. he picked the insect up and put it into the fridge where it died peacefully. praying mantis (=KAMAKIRI) has huge eyes which can indeed see. furthermore, its head can turn 300 degrees. when one approaches KAMAKIRI, it clearly turns its head towards you and looks. looks straight at you. it is confusing, being observed by an insect.

Donnerstag, 18. September 2008

IKI IKI ladies in concert

Last year i was blogging about my meeting with the legendary IKI IKI ladies, a choir of 40 elder women living in the village near Akiyoshidai. This group of vital women (the oldest being 96 years old) meets up once a month to sing Japanese songs. I have had the honor to be adopted as their grandchild and soulmate in singing. This time we were visiting together a hospital for very old people. This visit was connected with the national holiday for respecting the elderly. IKI IKI ladies had prepared a beautiful singing program which they performed all dressed in soft pink shirts. The last song was about TANUKI (refers to the famous japanese raccoon dog) called SHOO-JOO-JI. This was my moment to sing it first as a solo since TANUKI played a special role in my performance last year. This is a song which everybody knows and all the elderly and IKI IKIs were joining me. i felt old and young in the same time.
IKI IKI ladies will live long.
IKINAGA =longlivety