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japanshin
05 August 2019 @ 11:21 pm

Hello Everyone!

(Subject is a slogan at a cafe)

I haven't written in a while but I keep thinking of things to talk about to you.

One of these things is the Global Artist Movement art gallery that I participate in every year.

http://www.randomisgod.com/pictures/000GamPicture.jpg

My piece for the event this year is called, "Tomoe" based on an ancient Japanese symbol that holds a special, spiritual place in my heart.  This symbol can also be found on the wings of the Tomoe moth, which is called Spirama in its scientific name.  But for the gallery I named the piece it, "Rinpun" instead which means, "scales of a moth's wing."  Why?  Because people kept thinking my painting was just a pixelated photograph, or a painting based on a computerized image, or that I'd painted over some blown-up pixels.  No, it's supposed to be each and every scale of the Tomoe symbol on the wing of the moth.  I thought if it was called, "Rinpun" then there would be less of a chance of people mis-interpreting it.

http://www.randomisgod.com/pictures/MakingOfTomoe.jpg

I carried my painting to the gallery by hand, stopping first to stay a night at a friend's house so I wouldn't have to make the whole journey in one day.  (The gallery is in Toyota, and I live in Tamano, if you have a map on hand, it is pretty damn far!)

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japanshin
30 April 2019 @ 11:28 pm

"I'm going to take you somewhere tomorrow.  I'll pick you up at 9.  It shouldn't take too long."


These were the only words I was given from my new friend who decided to take me out on a surprise.  I wasn't too sure exactly what was going on, but willing and ready for any adventure.  I interpreted "No too long" as a chance to wear a skirt and some jewelry. Right before nine I got another message saying, "It might be muddy because of last night's rain" and  quickly changed in to thick jeans and hiking boots.


Living here 6 months already, I thought I knew everything about my town, but my new friend Andrea showed me I was wrong.  She drove me to an area not 10 minutes from my house, on the other side of a hill, and we got out of the car in to the crisp spring morning air.  On the hillside, little shoots were poking up called "Tsukushi" and "Warabi" which are both edible.  The rice fields were full of purple flowers called "renge" which help to keep nutrients in the soil before the growing season.  The sky was doing it's spring thing of both threatening to rain or become brilliantly hot and sunny at the same time.


http://www.randomisgod.com/pictures/000TsuneyamaSakura.jpg


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japanshin
07 April 2019 @ 12:55 am

I keep forgetting to thank everyone who bought my calendar.  The money was donated to

https://pollinator.org and http://jbcs.blog.fc2.com.  I hope these groups can protect habitats in the US and Japan.  Yossi matched all of the money so I ended up raising 16,000 yen.  Thank you so much! 

http://www.randomisgod.com/pictures/IMG_3199.JPG  (Thank you image)

Spring has come and I'm late introducing you all to a new holiday I'm advocating.

In East Asia there wasn't any problem of re-appropriating pagan holidays or calendars that didn't quite match up over time, so the original calendars of Japan based on the sun, moon, and stars also designated where holidays fell.  Instead of months, dates were kept by the angle of the sun.  Here's a Chinese image of this calendar:

http://chugokugo-script.net/koyomi/nijuushi-sekki.html

The 12o'clock position is the Spring Equinox, which was like the old beginning of the year.  Likewise, the Fall Equinox lies at the bottom, with the two solstices at the 3 and 9 positions.  Between each of these celestial events lie five more significant days and you can see how they are based on the angle of the sun.  Thus the year was categorized.

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japanshin
21 March 2019 @ 10:56 pm

Tsuneyama (Mount Tsune) rose in the middle of what used to be Kojima island.  The Seto sea near Okayama city sports a number of very large islands.  While Kojima may not be the most profitable and interesting of places, especially during the era of warring states, it served as a sort of buffer between the sea and Okayama castle.  The Ueno clan decided to take it over in 1486 and spent a few years building a castle there.

The way the mountain raises straight up from the flat land below with a view from the top that includes both ends of the small mountain range and all the way across to Okayama city makes it understandable why it would be the perfect place to build a castle.

http://www.randomisgod.com/pictures/000TsuneyamaCosmos.jpg

Now, however, the sea has been filled in with reclaimed land.  Kojima is no longer an island, the canals of Kurashiki no longer can carry goods all the way to the sea, and Tsuneyama castle has been left to rot away under the weight of trees and ivy.

I live at the bottom of this mountain, where the land would have made a sandy beach.  According to the "Hazard Map" they gave me when I moved here, I'm in danger of being flooded out if a giant tsunami ever breaches the sea wall.  However I think I'm just high enough, and just far away enough from the wall, that I'd have lots of time to run up the mountain before the water got to my house as the rest of the land around me returned to the ocean.

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japanshin

Hello Everyone!

(Subject from a student's pencil case..  The English is okay but.. why?)

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japanshin

Subject is a mistranslation of, "Now this machine is under repairs."  If you know the Japanese, it's pretty hilarious that they translated "Now" as "I'm Home."

So last time I mentioned I hosted an event at my school.  Let me go in to more detail and introduce to you the city of Kurashiki.

http://www.randomisgod.com/pictures/000KurashikiColors.jpg

Kurashiki sits upriver from the Seto inland sea.  The sea is protected by islands and the land is peaceful so you'd expect a bustling port along the coast.  However this flat land west of Okayama city was never ideal.  Tides came up the coastal plain, making the land salty and unfit for crops.  It wasn't until a sea wall was eventually built that thought was put in to what the land could be used for.  Finally, the area was turned in to cotton fields, as cotton can handle a harsher soil than rice can.  A cotton mill was established and storehouses were built around it.  Kurashiki means "Storehouse village" and became a place for commerce where goods, mostly cotton and rice, could be stored.

Why do I know all this?

Well I was asked to take a group of students to Kurashiki and teach them how to speak English outside of the classroom in a realistic situation.  The downside was that I wasn't allowed to spend any money.  I was a bit nervous so I decided to do some research and take a trip down there myself.

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japanshin
02 December 2018 @ 11:49 pm

Subject is from an advertising poster.

Starting off with some pictures:

http://www.randomisgod.com/pictures/000Halloween2018.jpg

http://www.randomisgod.com/pictures/000KamaTaisho.jpg

I wake up at 7am every day and the first thing I do is look out the window at what's going on.  The fruit on the persimmon tree is orange and succulent.  Most of the rice has been cut, but there is that one lingering field over there that hasn't.  Will today be the day?  The sparrows living in our air vent see me and fly off.  Is there any other wildlife today?  An egret looking for fish in the drain.  They're hard to spot, they stand so still.

I learn a lot of things from this window.  There's a machine that they ride on to cut the rice.  It reminds me of the machine that clears the ice on a hockey rink.  The machine will break up the straw and keep the grains but I'm not sure how it works exactly.  In the past, the straw was kept for various things, to make ropes and sandals, for the roof, mixed with mud to make walls for homes, to fill pillows and dolls, tied up to make brooms, and so on and so on.  Some people still lay out the straw to dry in triangular sculptures out in the fields.  It makes me happy to see them somehow.

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japanshin
17 October 2018 @ 04:37 pm

Dear all,

I just wanted to share some photos from my new city, Tamano.

My old address was God's Door City, Long Field Ward, West Ass Lake.

My new address means Treasure field City, Cosmic Wisteria Tree

http://www.randomisgod.com/pictures/000TsuneyamaTown.jpg

http://www.randomisgod.com/pictures/000NewHome.jpg

An old man waiting for the train with his dirty feet up on the bench explained to me with eager, outstretched hands, that this whole area used to be part of the sea.  Then they built a wall to keep the saltwater back and were able to make low-lying rice fields.  He said no houses were here before, and the mountains were islands.  I wasn't sure if this was the ramblings of an old man, or if it was true, but at City Hall they gave me a map of potential areas for natural disasters and yeah, it looks like the only thing preventing my area from being the sea really is this wall holding it back.  Don't worry, if a tsunami comes, the path up the mountain is almost directly in front of my house.

Jennifer

 
 
 
japanshin
09 October 2018 @ 05:19 pm

Almost every day I was in Hiroshima, it rained.

There were some days when it didn't rain, when I went back to Kobe to take care of house things.  It didn't always rain all day.  Sometimes just for a few hours at night.  But I knew they weren't going to open any of the hiking trails with the threat of rain still hanging.  Yossi and I went to a neighboring city and we drove up what looked like a fairly tame mountain, but even so there were boulders that had been moved aside and trees that looked precariously ready to fall down over the path in the next storm.  So hiking locally was out of the question.


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japanshin
22 September 2018 @ 11:34 pm

Hello everyone!

This time I just wanted to share some pictures.

So this is where I'm living temporarily:

http://www.randomisgod.com/pictures/000HigashiHiroshima.jpg


I looked on a map and saw a lake and a mountain, so on my day off I tried and failed to visit both.  Here's why:
Lake: http://www.randomisgod.com/pictures/000HHlake.jpg
Mountain: http://www.randomisgod.com/pictures/000Kagamiyama.jpg


And finally, IT STOPPED RAINING for a day and I was able to take some pictures with the morning light of the area directly around my apartment:
http://www.randomisgod.com/pictures/000HHneighborhood.jpg



Jennifer