Sunday, March 30, 2008

Noh has been a performing tradition that has continued since the 14th century

It’s Sunday, and today I’m updating from the room I have my cultural geography course in! Exciting, I know, but it does have a certain feeling of cool in being the only one in a cold, computer-filled lab, typing away, trying to not be ADD long enough to use the mapping program only on these computers without changing the map colours thirty times…. So I thought I’d update my blog since I wanted to this weekend, and a break from maps is probably good for the health on occasion.
Friday OWU students had a special chance to experience Japanese Noh theatre a bit by meeting Matt Dubroff, one of a few Americans not only learning the traditional art of Noh, but making and performing English Noh plays with his modest troupe. He kindly explained a brief history of Noh, what the heck Noh is, and even gave some examples during his more formal afternoon talk; he also did two Noh workshops, showing people how to do some basic Noh movements and singing, but I unfortunately missed out on that part of it!! It was very informative, and I could easily rant on and on about his presentation, but I shall spare my readers and merely recommend researching Noh if the idea of the oldest still-practiced performing art which gives the main actor a wide range of responsibilities far beyond what one would normally expect sounds interesting. I find it fascinating, particularly since there is no rehearsal for a performance, and they only perform once.

German word: It feels odd writing about a German word after talking about Japan so long. Japan in German is Japan (the ‘j’ is pronounced like a ‘y’ is in English. There is also a certain emphasis that apparently should be used, but people will definitely know what you’re talking about it you say ‘yapon’.) Japanese is simply japanisch.

Matt Dubroff explaining something to us. Yes, he was cool enough to wear a shorter kimono top that I cannot think of the specific name of at this moment. And he had a cool fan.

A traditional Noh setting…

This video was put out by the government of Japan, I believe, and is actually fairly informative and cool. The giant bell thing toward the end has been known to concuss and injure not a few Noh actors in the past.

Kabuki came about a couple hundred years after Noh and was seen as a theatre more for the commoners. (Noh by then had created a strong relationship with the aristocracy, starting with its true roots of Kan'ami and Zeami [Zeami chilled with the Shogun of the time and combined the courtly things he learned with him with Noh.]) Anyway, this is a sample of Kabuki. I love the wigs.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Audie Murphy, First Lieutenant, Third Infantry Division, is the Most Decorated U.S. Soldier of World War II

First week back from spring break is complete, and wasn’t all that bad. I know a lot of people who had exams this week (I’m very thankful about the stress of having all of mine just before leaving... although worrying about what one got on those exams over break isn’t the greatest, even though one ends up doing fine anyway.) So this week has been fairly normal, with plenty of reading and lugging about of books. The rain was a spectacular change from the snow of late (namely the blizzard…. Go wind tunnel?) I had a lovely walk in the rain Wednesday, and it was superb. Most of OWU seemed to want to avoid the wet, but I personally find the campus at its most beautiful in a nice rain, the buildings nestled in amongst the romantically puddled sidewalks, roads that transcribe the street lights all melding together into this atmosphere nigh impossible to describe… Or maybe that’s just me.
Next week I’m looking forward to the Noh theatre artist who is coming to hold a workshop and presentation! I’m still torn on whether or not to go to the workshop, if only because I have no song or dance ability whatsoever, but learning more about the art of Noh makes it very tempting… I plan to invite my grandmother to the presentation the gentleman is going to hold, so hopefully she has that timeslot open!

German Word: Hase and hassen may look similar, but are starkly different! Hase is a noun meaning 'rabbit' or 'hare', and hassen is the verb 'to hate', so mixing them up would be more than slightly odd, but makes more sense if one sees something like "Ich hasse diese Hase." ('I hate this rabbit', not that you would ever say that, though you might.) "Ich hasse Schokoladehasen" would be another, meaning 'I hate chocolate rabbits.'

For my birthday I got a WACOM tablet. In case you have no idea, it’s basically a thing you can plug into your computer that allows you to draw using a pen stylus, so it’s almost like writing or drawing on paper, only not. Tons of fun. Tons. It’s a bit tricky getting used to the whole different hand-eye coordination thing, but once one does, it’s very useful. My cultural geography professor, Dr. Fusch, recently started using one for a project he’s working on, which he told me about after I used mine to draw some diagrams for our midterm exam. (I got it mostly for academic use. I swear. Really.) I didn’t take much time at all to throw together the diagrams, but it was a nice option to have since he allowed us to draw things to help explain whatever it was that we were defining. So below I feel I should share some academic and slightly less academic creations I’ve tossed together with my WACOM.

Here I was supplementing my explanation of plate tectonics... Such detail is blinding, I know.

This rather complicated graph explains demographic transition stages. I won't bore you with the nail-biting, action-packed details.

This is one thing I started over spring break... I realize that it is slightly odd for someone to randomly draw a Cardinal for no apparent reason, but I insist my readers trust me on this one, as he is from something that I've been writing. He's slightly evil, as I hope you can tell. Still working with this one, as I'm hoping the frame-work ring and horrid green background imply, so suggestions would be great if you have any... The program ate two hours of work one day, so I lost a lot, got mad at it, and have only started fixing things again. I'm changing his hair (for the third time...) because I'm still not happy with it, and it's not supposed to look that combed back and long, so. Open for comments, as I said.

My WACOM came with two programs, a painter program and photoshop. Mostly I use the painter, because all the buttons in photoshop and it's general rawr-ness has scared me off, but I have played around in it a bit. So power... It's insane, and I love it, but I'm still learning. This is the first sketch I did in it; nothing detailed. The characters are from the same thing as the angry above fellow, but they're not grumpy or evil sorts. Not that that matters or is pertinent in any way whatsoever.

Also, this might be the best song to walk to class to ever. I might have to make a list of songs perfect for walking about OWU to, and this one is definately on there, rain or shine, and, yes, I was rocking out to this in the pouring rain, because I'm that cool.