Saturday, May 26, 2012

Rose Festival in Kamakura

Yesterday we went to the Rose Garden in the grounds of the old Marquis Maeda villa in Kamakura, where the garden is in full bloom. What a lovely way to wrap up our Japan trip.

 "Black Tea"

Dance of Shiva 2012

One of the big highlights of this Japan concert tour was Dance of Shiva, held in west Izu, a few hours drive from Tokyo. This event is the annual party for Indian goods importer in Japan,, and brings together live Indian classical artists with DJs and bands. I attended the first Dance of Shiva back in 2007, which by good fortune was the time Yuki and I shared our first kiss. Now 5 years and 3 wedding ceremonies later, Yuki and I performed together at Dance of Shiva 2012. The event was timed to coincide with the annular solar eclipse on the morning of Monday May 21, although we ended up returning to Kamakura to witness that from the beach. Many thanks to Atsushi Umehara, aka Tirikita-san, for inviting us to take part and for organising such a fantastic party.

Yuki opened the event with mantras and a fantastic Dhrupad recital, accompanied by Tetsuya Kaneko on pakhawaj. She received a lot of well-deserved praise from respected musicians, which surprised her, but not me! I'm very proud of my lovely wife.

Taro Terahara (bansuri) with Ayako Ikeda (tabla) and Takaaki Kuno (ghatam)

Yuki and I opened the Saturday morning live performances with mantras, kirtans and bhajan.

Yasuhiro Minamizawa (surbahar) with Tetsuya Kaneko (pakhawaj)

Taro Terahara (bansuri) with Arif Khan (tabla), son of Ustad Sabir Khan

I accompanied Yasuhiro Minamizawa (sitar) in one of the best Indian classical performances I've ever been part of.

Makyo: Junzo Tateiwa (percussion), Setsuo Miyashita (santoor), Madoka (oud, saz), Gio (live mixing, electronics), Hayati (dance)

Setsuo Miyashita (santoor) with Arif Khan (tabla)

Atsuko Maeda (Kathak dance) accompanied by Shen (tabla), Taro (bansuri), Yuki (vocal)

Arif Khan also gave accompaniment on tabla, while I gave padhant (vocalised rhythms). At the close of the show, Arif showed some brilliant tabla compositions in dialogue with Atsuko's Kathak dance.

It was great to make a connection with an accomplished tabla player like Arif Khan.

We were offered a lift home early and took advantage of the opportunity, which included a stop at Dougashima Onsen (hot spring baths), with this view!

A tihai of weddings

Readers of this blog who don't follow me on Facebook or Twitter might be wondering about the increasing presence of a certain Yuki Taniguchi in my life. Well wonder no more - we got married this year! We didn't get married just once, though. We had three ceremonies in three countries, a veritable tihai of weddings.

Jan 6: Gold Coast, Australia

My lovely bride

Taro and my student Sanjey welcomed everyone with beautiful bansuri and tabla

Waiting for my bride to arrive

Our friends played mbira for the wedding procession

Tashi Lhunpo Monks blessed our union

What a beautiful place for a wedding

You may kiss the bride :-)

Happy times with Spankinhide

Blissfully in love

My best men: Tenzin, Taro and Elliott

We had a great party during which Yuki and I performed kirtan "Sita-Ram".

Feb 27: Varanasi, India

We had a Bengali Hindu style ceremony, which includes funny hats.

Yuki's Dhrupad guru, Pt Ritwik Sanyal, took the role of the bride's father, a great honour for us.

Exchanging malas

Binding lives together

Offering to the sacred fire

Applying sindur for the first time

It was a powerful and magical ceremony

May 13: Kamakura, Japan

We went to Egara-Tenjin Shrine by jinriksha, wearing traditional hakama and shiromuki

Arrival at Egara-Tenjin Shrine with Mama, Uncle Bob, Auntie Zydre and Kamakura jinriksha legend Aoki-san

The Shinto ceremony was absolutely sublime. My favourite part was this dance by the priestess, warding off evil spirits with a ceremonial short sword.

Triply wed. Thanks to TC for this beautiful photo.

Yuki wore a beautiful wig which didn't get seen until the end.

We had the reception at an Indian restaurant.
Thanks to my student Bhavik's mother Neelam for Yuki's beautiful sari.

We performed "Sita-Ram" once more

Thanks so much to all our friends and family for all your support. And praise to all the gods and goddesses for giving us so many blessings.

Kamakura sightseeing with Bob and Zydre

My Uncle Bob and Auntie Zydre visited Japan for about 10 days, honouring Yuki and I by coming all the way from Australia to attend our Shinto wedding ceremony. We had a great time together in Kamakura and Izu, where they also came to attend our performance at Dance of Shiva. Here are some photos of our Kamakura sightseeing trip.

Uncle Bob at Daibutsu ("Big Buddha")

Small statue of Benzaiten, the Japanese Saraswati, at Hasedera

Bamboo garden at Hokokuji, a very beautiful and highly recommended temple in north-east Kamakura

Bob and Zydre in Hokokuji garden

Year-round autumn colours at Jyomyoji, a Zen temple near Hokokuji