Thursday, August 16, 2012

Thursday, August 23 • 1:30 pm: Japanese film in Tateuchi Community Room

by aleks
Our second film this season will be 'Japan: Memoirs of a Secret Empire' - parts of the 2004 PBS documentary series.  There is a change from the original plan, though: Shizue, the host of the Thursday session, after further reviewing of the film decided that part 2 will be more interesting to watch, more about people and customs  than originally planned rather dry part 1. Since we have Tateuchi Room reserved till 5 pm, part 3 will be shown after a brief intermission for those who are interested.

The whole thing is on youtube, so if you want to watch the part 1 ahead of screening (not necessary), here it is, in several installments, we hope you are going to join us for part 2 and 3 and a good discussion (plus cookies!):

or here:

The PBS description of parts looks like this:

Tokugawa Ieyasu unifies Japan and establishes a dynasty that will rule Japan for over 250 years. 

The grandson of Ieyasu, Tokugawa Iemitsu, tightens control over Japan's warlords and expels all foreigners. 

Isolated from the West, 18th century Edo flourishes culturally and economically, becoming one of the liveliest cities in the world. But foreign forces are coming. 

• • • 
About the previous film:
If we were unable to attend the first session of the 'films in Tateuchi Community Room', the beautiful 'Dream Window' movie (featuring the gardens of Saiho-ji, Shugaku-in, Katsura Villa, Tenryu-ji, and Sogetsu Hall, plus contemporary landscapes +  a diverse group of Japanese artists providing an excellent commentary), talk to Thomas: he has a copy of it in his drawer, and willing to lend. This Smithsonian video offering is NOT available in the general dvd collection on amazon or anywhere else, and trade with Smithsonian will short you for about $150 :(.

• • • 

About the next films:
After  next Thursday, the last two film offerings for this season will be:

• OCTOBER:  Thursday 10/18//12, 1:30 pm - TokyoStory  (Tōkyō Monogatari), 1953, by widely acclaimed director Yasujirō Ozu.  It is regarded as one of the 10 greatest films of all time.  The story is of a visit made by an aging couple from a small town to see their children and grandchildren in distant, growing, postwar Tokyo. With elegance and sensitivity the film portrays characters with whom we can identify, and taps human experiences common to us all.  (For more background click Roger Eber review from 1972 and 2003.) 136 minutes - a brief intermission is planned.

• NOVEMBER:  Thursday 11/1/12, 1:30 - Shall We Dance? 1996, dir. Masayuki Suo. A successful but unhappy Japanese accountant finds the missing passion in his life when he begins to secretly take ballroom dance lessons.  Trailer hereRotten tomatoes reviews here. 120 minutes.

Again: this is a private event, for guides, staff  and their friends only (for mainly legal reasons), but if you want to see these films, befriend SJG volunteer or a staff person, OR become a volunteer for SJG yourself... You are invited, one way or the other.

HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE next Thursday!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Wandering & Wondering - Saturday, August 4

by aleks
SJG • 8/4/12 - Wandering & Wondering

Another wonderful performance of butoh dance in the Garden, which became even more magical with the sound of delicate music coming from different directions and dancers appearing and reappearing on the paths, solo here, and as a group there.

SJG • 8/4/12 - Wandering & Wondering

Two six years old girls who came with us to see butoh dancing were very interested in figuring out what is happening;  they pretty soon determined that the entire Garden became a stage, or that the dancers are part of the Garden - pretty much doesn't matter which way around: 'Look, she is gardening, and pretending  she is smelling the flowers,  and now watering them'....

SJG • 8/4/12 - Wandering & Wondering

'They are having a party now, pretending they are talking and laughing' -  the group was sharing a drink of water, and it didn't escape the girls that the dancers didn't stop performing, but incorporated that activity into the dance. 'They are hugging and saying goodbye now' - on the group splitting and wandering off to different corners of the Garden again...

SJG • 8/4/12 - Wandering & Wondering - Sadie and Ellie watching... Pic by Michal
The event was directed by Joan Laage, of Kogut Butoh based in Seattle. Dancers were  Bruce Fogg, Consuelo Gonzalez, Joan Laage, Lin Lucas, Kaoru Okumura, Vanessa Skantze and Helen Thorsen. Musicians were Susie Kozawa, Dean Moore, Mike Shannon, Esther Sugai and Samuel Yoder.

SJG • 8/4/12 - Wandering & Wondering. Pic by Michal

Thank you dancers and musicians!  And thank you, Joan Laage, who is also a guide in SJG - I shall shadow her tour sometimes, she is probably dancing it....

SJG • 8/4/12 - Wandering & Wondering. Pic by Michal
Ellie's haiku on the occasion on watching butoh in 90 agrees weather:

butoh dancing
very slow -
looked very hot


Sadie and I 
thought the butoh
is having a party!

SJG • 8/4/12 - Wandering & Wondering
SJG • 8/4/12 - Wandering & Wondering
I have more pics, but the post is becoming too long - next year you have to see it yourself!