Saturday, December 31, 2016

O Shogatsu and Waka

I Wish Everyone a Very Happy O Shogatsu! Here's the Wiki Quickie about that ...
For Fun, Here are Horoscopes for 2017 ...
I have also republished my recent Waka (specifically my Haiku and Tanka 2013-2016) this time all in one spot right here ...

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Regarding Cajun-Japanese Fusion in Material Culture, Folklore, and More

I have decided to republish my article Regarding Cajun-Japanese Fusion in Material Culture, Folklore, and More here


Imagine a Japan in which acorns and oak have yet to be replaced by rice crops and cypress, cedar, and pine plantations, where wolves still run free throughout the mountain forests, and the undulating energy felt to course through all of Nature is expressed artistically through a sophisticated unique ceramic tradition (the world's oldest) and a legacy of lacquerware sustained by hunter-gatherers in mostly permanent settlements without any need of full scale agriculture or use of metals to thrive. As a continuation of the Mazoku (Tribal Elves of Japanese Folklore) theme that I began focusing on during the beginning of Tōji at Winter Solstice, I thoroughly enjoyed rereading my copy at home of Prehistoric Japan: New Perspectives on Insular East Asia, Keiji Imamura, University of Hawai'i, Honolulu 1996 yesterday. To find this book at Amazon go here

Some Wiki Quickies...
Here's a cedar tree so old that it remembers the Jōmon Period: Jōmon Sugi
For a little more about Japanese native plant life, go here
As an example of a mostly permanent Jōmon settlement, here's a Wiki Quickie about the Sannai-Maruyama site

Here is an image of my favorite Jōmon Goddess Figure

One of my favorite Middle Jōmon Period ceremonial jars

Another one of my favorite Middle Jōmon Period ceremonial jars

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Tōji and Mazoku

In addition to the Last Quarter Moon occurring in Virgo this morning (our time here -6 GMT/UT), Tōji (a.k.a Dongzhi) begins today with Winter Solstice and continues through January 5th (a la Twelfth Night > Epiphany). This period includes O Shogatsu the Gregorian Calendar New Years Holiday on January 1st that Japan has celebrated since the Meiji Period in addition to the Traditional Lunar Calendar New Years Festival shared with China and many other countries of the Far East.
Many of us who have been fans of Japanese folklore (old and renewed) for awhile now are already familiar with the terms Erufu エルフ Elf (in general, simply an adaptation of the English word 'Elf') and Sen, Senninë, Sen'nyo 仙女 Elf / Nymph (such as the Woman of the Wild / Nymph character San / Honorable One being named such as a play on the words Sen and San, being so close in sound but also implying a closeness between those two terms in other important ways, in the beautiful anime film 'Princess Mononoke'). The actual Japanese term for Elves in general is Mazoku. Here is the Wiki Quickie on the Mazoku 魔族 . I love this type of Primal Elf concept that is so much more closely linked with Nature than with Human Civilization. It is typical the world over to demonize any type of entity not sided with human ambitions, especially when they conflict with Nature. A far fairer perspective on a Mazoku type figure is, of course, San from Princess Mononoke.
Here in the Western World, I think one of the character portrayals most similar to the Japanese Elf / Mazoku (ref. prev. post) would probably be the siblings Prince Nuada and Princess Nuala.
from the very fun film Hellboy II: The Golden Army
Here's a great image of the Elf King Balor, Father to Prince Nuada & Princess Nuala, in Hellboy 2
 Also from Hellboy 2, I love how the Angel of Death was depicted