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Amparo Bertram

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08:24 am: Pink Easter
On Sunday we started off by going to see a traditional dance at a temple just outside Kyoto. Unfortunately, there was one temple on either side of the station, and I accidentally took everyone to the wrong one. Luckily, we had arrived an hour early, so even with my mistake we got to the temple in time for the dance.

The name of the dance is the hanezu odori. The story behind it is that there was once a very beautiful woman named Ono Komachi. A man named Fukakusa wanted to marry her, so she told him that if he visited her for 100 nights in a row, she would consider him as a suitor. He continued to pay her a visit every night, trudging through the snow (and barely able to catch the tiniest glimpse of her through the bamboo screen of her room). Tragically, after the 99th night, he suddenly died and was therefore unable to complete the trial she set for him.

This tragedy is given a lighthearted twist in the dance. The second half of the dance is about how, although the man died, winter finally ended and the plums in Ono's garden began to bloom. So the dancers are all happy and celebrating the arrival of spring.

The word hanezu is an ancient term for a certain shade of pink (associated with plum blossoms). This word used to be common a thousand years ago, but it is now preserved only in reference to this dance. The committee that formed to preserve the tradition of this dance contacted experts at a museum to figure out exactly which shade of pink is referred to by this word. This year they finally came to a conclusion and made new dance costumes with the stripes on the skirts dyed the exact shade that used to be called hanezu back in Heian times.

The site of the dance is a temple with an impressive plum orchard. The plums are all going into full bloom, in various shades of white and pink. After the dance, we wandered through the orchard and enjoyed the view. They also had a place set up in the back of the orchard where one could view the nearby mountain through all the trees.

After that we rushed to Kyoto so we would get there in time to try the vegetarian lunch at the place I went with wednesday_10_00 last fall. It was a bit rough for everyone to sit on the floor, but somehow they managed. We wandered through the temple afterward and then down the row of shops to the north. This picture shows where we stopped for a rest next to a gorgeous stone garden presumably maintained by the kimono shop next to it.

We were quite fortunate to have sunny, springlike weather all day. We also found some very nice items to buy at the shops. It was, however, a substantial amount of walking.

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[User Picture]
Date:March 28th, 2005 05:49 am (UTC)
I loved reading the about the pink spring dance. I was reading all about your Tokyo adventure with wednesday_10_00 in her journal. sara_tanquil introduced me to LJ and I've especially enjoyed reading all of the entries from everyone living in Japan (yes, sara has even gotten me sucked into G-Defend..hehehe I'm now initiated into the mysteries of yaoi...) Would you mind if I added you to my flist? You'd be more than welcome to reciprocate :-)
[User Picture]
Date:March 28th, 2005 12:21 pm (UTC)
Would you mind if I added you to my flist?

I wouldn't mind at all! I'm glad you've found something in the journal worth reading.
[User Picture]
Date:March 28th, 2005 06:38 am (UTC)
^__^ Lovely, thank you for sharing that story with us. Very glad you had a good time.
[User Picture]
Date:March 28th, 2005 12:39 pm (UTC)
It all looks so lovely and spring-like!

*looks out the window sadly at icy rain*

Glad you're having good weather for the family tour. Love the pictures!
[User Picture]
Date:March 29th, 2005 02:11 am (UTC)
Glad you're having good weather for the family tour.

I just wish the family members were feeling better. ^_^; Sniffles and queasy stomachs and bad backs and sore legs make it hard to enjoy sightseeing.
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