Tuesday, 24 May 2011

The Origin of the World, Super Sentai and Kobe Laughs

After Spring Break (same time as the behind the scenes drama) we dove straight into April Fools and me running around making everyone believe I had dyed my hair blonde! HAHAHA! There were a few who could tell it was obviously a wig and others who just had no idea! Mixed responses as well as to whether it suited me or not, but don’t worry I am NEVER going blonde ^^

April also brought about the sakura season, which I must say I don’t like as much as the plums. We went for a hanami (slower viewing) trip to Osaka castle with the Seminar House which was kinda meh. But at least I can say I’ve done it.

What was more interesting was our religion trip to Tenrikyou (NOT Shinto or Buddhist). A fairly unknown religion in Japan but I really like their attitudes and beliefs. We went to their central church (I don’t know what else to call it, it’s nothing like churches in England) where apparently the god Tenri created mankind, which is why when you go they say “welcome home”.

Here’s a good outline of what they believe which I stole from Wikipedia ^-^

~Tenrikyo ( Tenrikyō) is a monotheistic religion originating in alleged revelations to a 19th-century Japanese woman named Nakayama Miki, known as Oyasama by followers. Followers of Tenrikyo believe that God, known by several names including Tenri-O-no-Mikoto, expressed divine will through Nakayama's role as the Shrine of God, and to a lesser extent the roles of the Honseki Izo Iburi and other leaders. Tenrikyo's worldly aim is to teach and promote the Joyous Life, which is cultivated through acts of charity and mindfulness called hinokishin.

The most basic teaching of Tenrikyo is kashimono-karimono, officially translated as "a thing lent, a thing borrowed". The thing that is lent and borrowed in this teaching is the human body. Tenrikyo followers think of their minds as something under their own control, but their bodies as a gift on loan from God.

The Joyous Life in Tenrikyo is defined as charity and abstention from greed, selfishness, hatred, anger and arrogance. Negative tendencies are not known as sins in Tenrikyo, but rather "dust" that can be swept away from the mind through hinokishin and ritual. Hinokishin, voluntary effort, is performed not out of a desire to appear selfless, but out of gratitude for kashimono-karimono.~

So they basically live to live a happy life. They don’t force people to join their religions or dislike others for believing something different because everyone has their own path. The building itself was HUGE! The center hall was over 3000 tatami mats large, and it wasn’t the only building there. It was also the cleanest building I have EVER seen. In order to clean away the “dusts” from your soul you’re encourage to do things like clean, so the following were cleaning every inch of the temple non-stop. It was amazing.

A few days after our field trip Aunty Nicky and Cousin Isaac came to visit! I met up with them in Osaka on my trip to Denden town with Gabe and Wes and I showed them Mandarake and we ate amazing Okonomiyaki. They did some more sight seeing while I was at school but I managed to meet up with them again. We went to Kyoto and did some sightseeing including a really nice performance of a collection of Japanese traditional performances like flower arranging, dancing, puppet theatre etc. We also went to the Kyoto Film Village where they film history dramas and show displays of the filming and acting. It included a 30min performance of the new Super Sentai which, although I’m not a fan of Super Sentai or Power Rangers, I have to say was pretty impressive. I videoed it for Leo and all those other fans out there. Hahaha.

After they went back to England the gang got together to go pay Aya a visit in Kobe! It was also the same day the second Gantz film was being released so we went nice and early to get tickets. The weather was piss poor but that didn’t stop us having a great time. We had the most amazing ramen I have ever tasted; walked through the largest collection of shopping malls I have ever seen; ate the most amazing purrin (pudding) ever; went to the Ghibli store; playing tag by the sea front and played around with a water fountain; went to China Town and ate really good steamed buns; then wandered over to the cinema. The film itself had its ups and downs, and there were parts I didn’t understand but really glad I saw it. Everyone was knackard by the end of the day and I think almost all of us fell asleep on the train. It was good ^______^

The final big event of April was going to see Takarazuka for the 3rd time with Haaki, my speaking partner. I have to say it was the BEST Takarazuka I’d seen so far. I wasn’t expecting it to be any good but I really enjoyed the Brazilian themed Nova Bassa Nova, which is about 2 thieves and a young woman tourist during the carnival of Brazil. As ever the costumes and dances were amazing. I just couldn’t get over how they painted their skin to look Latino, how they actually looked Latino and how that would NEVER work in another country. The second half of the show was a hilarious fairy tale romantic comedy about a princess who’s father is trying to marry her off but she doesn’t trust men so she swaps with her servant, one of the princes also does the same for the same reasons and haijinx ensues. If I can I’d really like to get the DVD of it before I leave, but I have a feeling they won’t be releasing it anytime soon (sadface).

When I got back to Hirakata I wasn’t in a rush to get home and ended up taking my time on a slow train. By co-incidence Brad was also coming back and also hadn’t eaten. So I waited at Hirakata station listening to a busker singing waiting for him and then we went for some really tasty burgers and some drinks. It was awesome ^___^

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