Takayama Women’s Chorale here in Denver August 11, 2017 for a free performance

Takayama, Japan has been Denver’s Sister City Takayama since 1960.  The Takayama Women’s Chorale is singing at Simpson United Methodist Church Friday, August 11, 2017 at 4:30 pm.  The Chorale will be performing traditional Japanese songs.  The performance is free.  For more information please contact Kaitlyn Lyle at 303.923.6865.  Simpson is located at 6001 Wolff Street in Arvada.  Want to learn about Takayama?  Visit the city’s website here:  City of Takayama website (English version): http://www.hida.jp/english/

 

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Monku! Monku! Monku!

complain complain complain

Growing up it was a contest between me and my brother who could be the biggest monkutare!!

Well he won this contest.  Maybe being the baby of the family gave him extra monku powers, but he sure was cute!   Mom and dad couldn’t stay annoyed with him for too long.  Me and our sister Kris?  We pretended to stay annoyed.

Got to get this surprise box in the mail to him 🐒🐵

Some of the surprise I didn’t include in the picture in case he reads this post 🙊🙈

The Beast and the Monk

The beast leaned into him, huffing it’s warm breath over his cheek.  He leaned into the beast, taking in the sweet musty smell of the animal. The smell of tea shrubs and fragrant white flowers.

Alone he had removed the rocks and debris from the field. Raked the earth smooth until it was finally ready for the beast.

The beast stepped forward, it’s great hoof covering his bare foot. The sharp sound of bones breaking and the intense pain lifted his spirits. A sign that it was time to begin.

Stepping into the field the beast followed him. The hooves of this son and grandson of great Samurai warrior horses left deep indentations as he followed the limping monk back and forth across the field.  Finally the field appeared as though filled with gentle waves  of the ocean coming into high tide. The beast nodded it’s head as if to bow to the monk sensing it’s duty was done.

A simple meal of boiled millet and pickled vegetables was eaten with the hashi (chopsticks) he kept in his sleeve. Tying the hashi together with a small length of  red silk cord from the beast’s armor he was ready for the next task.

Into the middle of each hoof print he pushed his hashi into the earth. Into that hole he dropped one tea seed. Covering each seed with the rich soil he moved to the next hoof print and continued until the entire field was planted.

In the fall of the third year the plants were shoulder height. The monk knew the first harvest would occur the coming spring.  The monk also knew that harvest would produce the finest tea, honcha, the real tea.   Those worthy of this scarce treasure, and who could afford the cost, would enjoy a tea ceremony attaining ultimate understanding, good fortune and good health.

As the monk limped through the field he allowed simple pleasures to fill his heart, taking in the familiar musty smell of tea shrubs and white fragrant flowers and the great beast.

 

 

 

Jason at 2017 Hina Matsuri Festival

Jason 2017
Jason 2017

Meet Jason.  We worked the doll room together at our Hina Matsuri Festival.

Jason knows more about the dolls than almost anybody at our church. Here he is entertaining some people describing a life-size Samurai armor replica.

Jason outgrew his boy’s kimono he wore last year but I include it here because it is amazing.  A gift from his Aunt and Uncle who live in Japan.
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A formal Kimono, not for casual wear.  A real family heirloom that he can pass down to his son one day along with his knowledge of Japanese dolls.

Continue reading Jason at 2017 Hina Matsuri Festival

Tea Ceremony at 2017 Hina Matsuri Festaval

2017 tea ceremony SUMC

The tea ceremony evolving from the scarce availability of green tea in Japan blossomed into a truly wonderful experience.

Tea ceremony 2017 SUMC

The rituals of the ceremony focus on the guest.  Every small detail of the room and utensils leads the guest to serenity and appreciation.

Samurai at 2017 Hina Matsuri Festival

 

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The armor of the samurai.   Labor intensive, intricate,  beautiful and full of meaning.  Rows of leather and plates of metal woven together with silk cord to make formidable protection.  Functional yet mesmerizing.

Dazzling helmets designed to strike apprehension into opponents upon recognition.

Join us this Saturday or Sunday, March 4th and 5th, at Simpson United Methodist Church, 6001 Wolff St. in Arvada, Colorado for the 49th Annual Hina Matsuri Festival. Hours are 11:30am to 4pm and this is a free event.

Enjoy the doll room, tea ceremony,  bonsai displays, ikebana (flower arranging) display, nonstop entertainment  including music and martial arts or have your name written in Japanese characters.

Here are a couple more displays you will be able to appreciate:

Lion Cub Doll from Hina Matsuri Festival

Suiseki Display From The Hina Matsuri Festival