Feb. 25th, 2014

sechan19: (anne)
Lectures and more lectures, and I actually had the courage to ask a question about something I learned today in lecture. (This question was delivered clearly enough to elicit an informative response, and I'm feeling better about my ability to speak and understand Japanese than I have in months.) I'm hoping to compile a more scholarly-style essay about some of the things I've learned and post it at a later date, so stay tuned...

We spent most of the day learning about the history of Ise Shrine, and the Shinto rituals associated with it, in preparation for our trip to the Inner Shrine tomorrow. (We will visit the Outer Shrine at a later date.) After our lectures, we made our way to the Assembly Hall for a discussion of ritual and a hands-on demonstration of Heian period clothing and social class. And by hands-on I mean all thirteen of us being fitted and tied into traditional dress. I volunteered to wear the attire of the highest-standing woman in the room, mainly because I wanted to get a sense of what was involved in the dressing of a court woman.

And let me tell you, a lot is involved. I was not attired in jūni hitoe (twelve-layer robes), but I did have three robes and hakama pants to slip into, and they took a tremendous amount of work. In fact, I (and everyone, really) had to have help getting into the clothes. Actually, we needed a bit of help making sure we stayed in them, too. At one point, I spent about five minutes with my arms held aloft (good exercise considering the weight of the garments), while Kimura-sensei fussed and fiddled with the robes, their sleeves, and the sash. Thank goodness I don't have Heian-style floor-length hair to contend with. When the robes were properly fitted, there was a headress and accessories to be considered as well.

We were all giggling and taking photos and enjoying the moment, watching in turn as cohort was turned into processional. In the end, we all lined up (students, teachers, and assistants) for a massive photo op. There were at least ten cameras, and more pics than I can shake a stick at were taken. I'll post some to FB eventually, I suspect.

Tomorrow we'll be learning about sacred space and syncretism and touring the Inner Shrine of Ise—a place I've taught about but never visited until now. Very excited!!

May 2014

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