Shichi-Go-San, Blessing of the Children

Shichi-Go-San “Seven-Five-Three” is a traditional festival day in Japan celebrated to mark the growth of children as they turn three, five and seven years of age.  In Japan this festival occurs annually on November 15 or on the nearest weekend.  Parents take their children to a shrine where they pray for the good health and well-being of their children.

At Simpson UMC Shichi-Go-San was celebrated this year on October 5th.  We also call the day “Blessing of the Children”.  We bless all children of the congregation and other children who wish to attend, we thank God for their presence in our lives and for their health and happiness.

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In Japan the children may wear their traditional dress, kimonos for girls and haori jackets and hakama trousers for boys.

At Simpson the girls wore kimonos and the boys happi jackets.  Ann Henderson presided over a blessing for the children.  Ann truly joined in the spirit of the day and wore a kimono provide by Jane Fujioka.

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Taiko Japan’s Number One Energy Export by Marc Steuben

This article appears here with the permission of Marc Steuben and explains how Taiko was born as we know it today and how Taiko came to the United States.

I have taken several lessons from Marc now and the more I get to know him the more fascinating and complex I find him.  Look forward to reading about his other talents and endeavors here soon.

He remains a patient and encouraging teacher even though I have two left hands when it comes to drumming!

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Taiko Lessons 1 and 2

I have had my first two lessons on Taiko drumming!  I really am having fun!!

I had hoped to share with you detailed information on Taiko drums but it is turning out to be much more complicated than I anticipated.

There seems to be a billion types of drums and since I don’t speak Japanese trying to keep the names and descriptions straight is beyond this new student.

During practice and performance there are many different sized drums in use with the many drums providing different pitches to astound the senses.  Probably the most well-known drum in any Taiko ensemble would be the ōdaiko, the largest drum on the stage.

Bachi is the term for the drum sticks used.  Right now I am using a very light weight set of bachi.  Taiko drumming is quite a work out.  The stance is a wide legged stance with a slight bend to the knees requiring good balance so you can move in and out from the drum.  (I made the mistake of wearing sandals for lesson 2 and my feet were not happy.)  The wrists, forearms, upper arms and shoulders are all used and depending on the strokes and rhythms you are undertaking the workout can be intense.  A strong core is essential.  I am grateful for the light weight bachi!

Thank you Marc Steuben for your continued patience!

Jennifer Lim at Arts & Crafts Showcase 10-19-2014, Rescued Broken Jewelry

I took my friend Jennifer Lim an huge plastic bag of broken and “I’m tired of this piece” jewelry.

I had been saving all this jewelry with no idea what I was going to do with it.  Since at least half of it was broken I couldn’t take it to the thrift store.

She does this amazing thing with bits of forgotten or discarded jewelry, she re-purposes the bits and pieces and makes entirely new pieces of jewelry!

I wish I had taken a picture of that plastic bag of broken jewelry, sigh, but here are a few examples of what she did with those castaways:

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Thank you Jennifer for being so fun and giving me back some memories!

 

 

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If you would like to see Jennifer’s creative pieces in person, bracelets, earrings and necklaces, join us at Simpson UMC on 10-19-2014.  Her prices are unbelievably reasonable.  All proceeds she donates to the Simpson UMC Chancel Choir for special music and adding musicians to help our extremely talented pianist with Christmas and Easter Cantatas.

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A light lunch will also be served until sold out.  There are many amazing artists that display each year and you will not be disappointed!

P.S.  If you would like to donate some broken jewelry Jennifer will make it into something amazing which she sells and donates all proceeds in support of the Simpson UMC Chancel Choir.  Bring your plastic bag of bits and pieces!

Taiko

Taiko means drum in Japanese.

In ancient Japan the drum was played to drive away evil spirits and pests harmful to crops and then in thanks for a successful crop.

Drums were used in warfare to inspire troops, and as a kind of a code to transmit orders or messages. In battle, the drummer was an important part of keeping the troops advised and enthused.

Learning Taiko has proved to be a mental and physical challenge and workout.  Your whole body becomes involved and finding the balance and coordination and concentration is an interesting test of blending all these elements together.

I have taken 2 classes now with Marc Steuben who is a member of Taiko with Toni – Toni is the leader of the parent taiko group..  I find him very encouraging, he really likes to have fun!  Although I am certain I am a klutz he is supportive and diplomatic in his corrections.

If you are interested in Taiko classes please contact him at marc@marcsteuben.com

I’ll keep you posted on my progress.  The group is Taiko with Toni and regularly performs and upcoming performances will be posted here also!

 

 

Favorite Artist at 25th Annual Friendship and American Indian Cultural Celebration

 

Angelique was filled with good energy.  Her art was also filled with good energy, happy and moving.

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Dream horses she made to ride to your dreams.

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Cheerful jewelry to pick up your spirits!

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25th Annual Friendship Powwow & American Indian Cultural Celebration

imageSunday, September 7 at the Denver Art Museum

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Amazing traditional dress and dance.

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High energy movements captivate imagination.

These people were very patriotic and proud to serve their country. A very warm, welcoming and friendly event. Must learn more about the different tribes and cultures.