Thursday, September 13, 2007

Noh Play/Mexican Restaurant: Match from Heaven

Last weekend I had the opportunity to see a Noh performance held at the Banna-ji Temple. Noh is a classic form of Japanese theater that featured two actors, maybe 6 people in a chorus, and 2 musicians. My understanding is that only men are allowed to participate, with female characters represented by intricate masks. I have heard several times that these plays are difficult even for the Japanese to understand, which means I caught about 10 words throughout the whole thing. The play itself is a bit dry, but there is a sort of comedic intermission play to make sure you haven't fallen asleep. Quite entertaining.

These first couple of pictures are just random shots of the temple grounds. Of course everyone was really anal about not taking pictures during the play itself, so I don't have anything to show for my hours of sitting and watching.

This thing is worth mentioning. This is a pretty common feature of any temple of decent size. Theres a little ritual of cleansing that you do here before you do your praying. You are also supposed to put some water in your mouth and then spit it out, thereby cleansing your mouth by washing it in water thats been sitting outside all day. When you are done with the little ladle, you hold it upside down so that the remaining water washes your hand prints away as well. At school I often see people gargling just straight water and then spitting it out... I am tempted to believe that there is a connection between the two practices.

Here is a shot of the mayor bowing before giving a lengthy opening address to the audience.

This is a short clip of a couple of monks chanting prayers before the performance.

After the show, many of us went to eat and drink at a Mexican restaurant. Yes, the food was a bit weird, but the corona still tasted the same. One notable presence was that of a Japanese man dressed as a cowboy. His gun belt contained a bottle of tequila in the holster, and shot glasses instead of bullets. And he wasn't afraid to use it.

This is maybe the greatest invention ever conceived. Instead of just taking a taxi and worrying about your car in the morning, you call these guys. A taxi comes with two drivers inside. One guy gets out and drives your car wherever you want it, while the taxi follows. Once you get to your destination, the driver gets back in the taxi and then departs. Just like magic. Apparently it is the same price as a taxi as well. Im getting all kinds of good business ideas from my travels.

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