21.08.16

Visit to the Gajoen

Meguro Gajoen is a wonderful hotel with exquisite design, a museum inside, and a waterfall included. This summer, it's sparkling with festival lanterns and dragon lights.  

Summer touch

gajo26

 

gajo22

 

 

 

gajo27

 

gajo28

 

gajo23

 

gajo24

 

gajo8

 

gajo7

 

gajo16

 

gajo5

 

gajo20

 

gajo18

 

Posté par NoemiMonogatari à 16:50 - - Commentaires [0] - Permalien [#]
Tags : , , , , , , , , , , ,

Green and Red

 Tokyo never stops being amazing. The New Otani Hotel Gardens, open to the public, are delightful in summer. Check it out!

 "Hibiki - Japanese Harmony", as they say

otani9

 

otani11

 

otani6

 

otani13

 

otani5

 

otani14

 

otani2

 

otani15

Posté par NoemiMonogatari à 04:50 - - Commentaires [0] - Permalien [#]
Tags : , , , , , , , , , , ,
03.11.15

Halloween in Shibuya

If the Japanese calendar is dominated by meaningful celebrations, old graceful rituals and respected traditions, there are also a few moments in the year when heavily marketed events take the power. Typically: Valentine day, Christmas, and Halloween. These imported, made-in-the-West celebrations were adopted to fill gaps between "real" Japanese ones, and to give shops sales opportunities. And so it feels a bit cheap, unreal, misunderstood. As Valentine is already a very commercial celebration in the West, it doesn't matter so much, but Christmas for instance is kind of depressing in Japan. Japanese Christmas is too Disney, too KFC, too Sexy-Miss-Santa costumes to be good.

But Halloween... I don't know, Japanese Halloween is working well enough. Or maybe because as a European, I was not used to celebrate Halloween when I was a child, so my opinion doesn't count. No trick-or-treating kids on the streets, no one ringing the bell at night to ask you for candies... Maybe Japanese Halloween is missing the point. BUT, for adults, let's admit it's a nice partying opportunity. In the country of cosplay, people do'nt hesitate to go wildly costumes... Here is a sample of 2015's not-so-little monsters. Check it out!

Tokyo Halloween is for grown-up only...

H14

Shibuya horror show - It's more fun with friends

H9

H20

H25

H19

H23

H6

H24

H18

Kawaii costumes - It's Japan after all

H12

H16

H13

H10

H15

H8

H22

H4

H3

H21

Tokyo Westerners - Bend it like the Japanese

H1

LA2

Posté par NoemiMonogatari à 07:46 - - Commentaires [0] - Permalien [#]
Tags : , , , , , , , , , , ,
20.05.14

Kimono Vibe

I sware that I don't exaggerate when I say that wearing a kimono is a very special experience. First, this is not the kind of dress you can jump in and forget. Not only you need at least two persons to put it on correctly, but it is like a rigid, heavy, solemnel piece of fabric folded around you. A kimono itself is a very light and smooth sheet of silk, but under it you also wear three or four layers of cotton; scarfs and ribbons to keep it close to your body and a hard, wide under-belt to give the right shape to the obi. Once you're set, you have to keep your back straight, you can't release the pressure on your belly and you need to control your steps, your breath, every single movement. Sounds like hell? Actually, not at all. The kimono does impose a certain discipline, but it also supports you and it guides your behavior. Personally, I just can't get enough. So when a friend of mine proposed me to model for a kimono brand at the Tokyo Design Festa 2014, I couldn't decline.

The French models team - Before

kimo8

The French models team - After

kimo16

... Who said "Power Rangers" ? Oh, come on.

I am the Green Power Ranger. Let me show off.

knoemi1

knoemi2

kimonoemi2

knoemi11

Our Japanese counterparts

kimo36

In the past, the way the ladies were wearing the obi gave some clues about their rank in the society, their marital status or their position inside their own family. Each obi is a real piece of art, it's really the most impressive part of the kimono.

The way of the obi

kimo19

kimo35

kimo34

kimo32

kimo28

kimo29

knoemi13

Pretty cool, uh ?

knoemi12

But of course, there are still some ways to be foolish in a kimono. You can count on us to add the French touch.

Be young, be foolish, be happy.

kimo7

Guys, I'am definitely happy to be back in Japan, but amazing pictures of my trip to New-York City are coming soon. Be ready, it's going to be legendary.

 

Posté par NoemiMonogatari à 11:52 - - Commentaires [4] - Permalien [#]
Tags : , , , , , , , , , , ,
09.05.12

Heavy Monday

Last Monday, I went to see a sumo fight for the first time at Ryogoku. As many Westerners, I had always been a bit disturbed by the aesthetics of this wrestling sport - naked, huge bodies and inscrutable faces. But it was the perfect opportunity to try to understand more about it, and so I did.

A rikishi (wrestler - in Japanese, "professional of strengh") on the ring... The clash is coming !

sumo - mai 2012 029

First, the place : Ryogoku Kokugikan, in the Eastern area of Tokyo. At the entrance, colourful banners welcome the visitors. Inside, the atmosphere is lively - people drink and eat, shout the name of their favorite rikishi and loudly comment the fights.

sumo - mai 2012 045

The dohyo (figting ring)

sumo - mai 2012 004

The dohyo iri (wrestlers presentation)

sumo - mai 2012 012

sumo - mai 2012 013

sumo - mai 2012 015

sumo - mai 2012 016

Even the cleaning of the dohyo looks like a choregraphy

sumo - mai 2012 019

For your information, us women are not allowed to walk on the dohyo, even when nobody's around. And even nowadays. We are such impure creatures. Jeeeeez.

Sumo champion showing-off

sumo - mai 2012 021

The gyoji (referee)

sumo - mai 2012 026

The rikishi throw salt on the ring before fighting, to purify it.

sumo - mai 2012 027

This world-wide famous gesture is for chasing away the bad spirits

sumo - mai 2012 028

Fists on the ground to accept the fight

sumo - mai 2012 038

The tachi-ai (clash) - trust me, they are surprisingly fast !!

sumo - mai 2012 032

The sumo fight is all about make you opponent walk/touch/fly the area outside the ring. This is why the wrestlers have to be so heavy. Still, there is no weight categories like in boxing, so the two rekishi's weight can be 100 kilos different ! Ouch, my spinal column... They say that 150 kilos may be the best for a wrestler : heavy enough not to fly too much, but offering a minimum of flexibility.

sumo - mai 2012 040

The rikishi have to follow a very strict physical discipline to maintain their body in the right shape - a bit like classical dancers in Europe. They wake up at 5am, train themselves all day long and eat carefully - mostly boiled vegetable and meat (nabe). Being a sumo fighter requires a permanent body and mind controle. 

sumo - mai 2012 036

This rikishi is Bulgarian-born. More and more foreigners (especially Mongols) try to make a career in sumo, so the Japanese Sumo Association had to restrain the number of non-Japanese to one new member per year. Not so bad. Among the Japanese, the number of candidates is decreasing. A rikishi life doesn't make people dream anymore...

sumo - mai 2012 039

What do the sumo rikishi fight for ? To please the gods. For sun, for rain, for harvest and for long life.

Thank you for your heavy prayers, guys !

 

Posté par NoemiMonogatari à 06:19 - - Commentaires [0] - Permalien [#]
Tags : , , , , ,
13.07.11

Mitama Matsuri at Yasukuni Jinja

If you plan to come to Japan one day, you have to understand the concept of matsuri. Matsuri is a Japanese "festival" consisting in gathering the greatest number of food stands a possible ; plus cute girls in yukata ; plus something traditional like dances, songs, contemplation of fireworks or wathever. In summer, you have dozens of matsuri all around Japan. They are most of the time totally packed and you come back home with the smell of takoyaki on your clothes. Actually, there is nothing very funny about matsuri, except the very special feeling to be in Japan for real.

In the case of Mitama Matsuri, the beauty of the lanterns alone justify your presence there. Of course, Yasukuni Jinja is one of the most controversial subject in the Japanese International Relations, because it is dedicated to the people who fought on behalf of the Emperor between 1868 (Opening of Meiji Era) and 1951 (end of the war) - about two million soldiers are honored there, including, unfortunately, some war criminals. The Yushukan Museum, just next to the shrine, is also famous for providing very incomplete information about the war crimes perpetrated by Japan in Asia during WW2. As a result, this beautiful place in Tokyo is considered abroad as a symbol of extreme nationalism and even Japanese imperialism ; and the Japanese people themselves are not in favour of their governement's high-level visits at Yasukuni Jinja anymore. To mak it short, Yasukuni is a touchy subject and sometimes people are surprised you go there, even for an innocent matsuri. Whatever.

But let's go back to the basics : as I said, matsuri is made of

Food Stands

yasukuni matsuri 012

yasukuni matsuri 017

yasukuni matsuri 021

yasukuni matsuri 022

Girls in Yukata

yasukuni matsuri 018

yasukuni matsuri 020

yasukuni matsuri 024

And something traditionnal : shrine and beautiful lanterns

yasukuni matsuri 032

yasukuni matsuri 031

yasukuni matsuri 030

yasukuni matsuri 035

yasukuni matsuri 037

yasukuni matsuri 036

yasukuni matsuri 038

yasukuni matsuri 040

yasukuni matsuri 046

yasukuni matsuri 048

yasukuni matsuri 057

yasukuni matsuri 060

yasukuni matsuri 058

yasukuni matsuri 062

Magic, isn't it ?

The lanterns stand for the souls of the dead soldiers. In the middle of the way, a dancing group performs a simple choregraphy and every one can join the dance.

Mitama Matsuri 2011 / July 13th-July 15th / Yasukuni Jinja, Kudanshita Station / Free entrance

 

Posté par NoemiMonogatari à 18:04 - - Commentaires [2] - Permalien [#]
Tags : , , , ,