On Saturday we went to temples and shrine. At the Fushimi Inari shrine a group of us climbed a mountain using a back path. It was an intriguing trip, we started out seeing a white kitten hanging out by one of the shrines followed by a white cat with a colorful tail from the path. Inari is typically depicted w/ a fox so random animals were a bit startling, if not on point. The trail itself was reasonably hard, involving prolonged up hill bits. At the end of one of the early uphill stretches a white wolf/dog came into view. This was rather startling and were it not for the dog's collar we may well have retreated. Fortunately it seemed to have a nice owner and responded well to petting. After that the trail continued to be quite attractive with many bamboo forests. There were also a few clumbs of Inari shrines, I've now seen at least three hundred.
Yesterday we did five hours or so of Noh followed by a nice dinner. The dinner place was traditional Japanese style, low to the ground tables, and pillow for comfort. Unfortunately my legs seem not to be built for sustained kneeling, though i can go around 10 minutes without much trouble which is longer than some. This was the second time i encountered this problem, the earlier one was a buddhist temple service we were watching for about an hour. If it seems like I'm going to encounter more than a few such situations in the future I'm going to practice that position.
The Noh itself was an experience. I was a bit sleepy in the first bit, but once i got beyond that the rest was fine. I'm sure i could appreciate it far better if I understood the Japanese. Fortunately, our teacher was sitting next to me and often whispered to me what was going on, which added a lot to my understanding. There wasn't actually any sucide or sodomy in any of the five plays, more a great deal of dance. The middle play was Kyogen, a different light form of theater that typically accompanies Noh, often as the intermission. It's expressive and rather funny even w/o understanding the banter. This one ended with two farmers tickling an official and making cute sound effects as they snuck up on him. Once I have a better command of the language I think I'll try Noh again.
I'm not going to cover everything in these posts as I am keeping a journal as part of the class. I'll show it upon request when I get back.