May 26, 2015

A rekindling

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In an attempt to write better, I reignited my love affair with published words – like a wayward friend returning back to the fold. Mostly books abandoned or ones I bought and forgotten until unearthed from wherever it gathered dust. And because I felt ashamed at how many books I have read since January – a dismal number of two!

One sure thing, I missed flipping pages – desperately. One would say it's a form of distraction given my many worries, but no I say it's finding a safe haven within the pages – in every character, in every universe. As was famously uttered by JK Rowling: "The knowledge that there's always somewhere you can go that you love and be safe".

I was hoping to read 4 books by the end of May but seeing as I get easily distracted (on a Supernatural marathon the past 2 days! :p) I'm trying not to unearth more books from their lairs else I find myself burdened with their accusing stares. "I deserve to be devoured!" they would say. Yes yes I'm working on it!

Of the stacks below, I finally finished reading I am Half-sick of Shadows.  It was a book I acquired a year ago but gave up halfway through due to lack of enthusiasm. It's now book read #2. Bow. And I'm currently barreling through Speaking from the Among the Bones. The rest are my reading list for June:

June 2015 reading list


Also, a dilemma I'm having – I love to read but I am a hopelessly limited reader. I gravitate towards select genres. I look at others and think to myself "It's never going to work, I'm going to be bored and I'm not going to read you anyway". So that's that. On one of our recent trips to Booksale, Raph and I acquired a few more books. I did try to come out of my comfort zone. I got a copy of October Sky (will gush about this soon, it's my next read!) and the wildcard My Sister's Keeper. So, the latter one – I like to be transported to a place of wonder so I don't usually read stories close to real life especially the drama ones. But I have a goal here, to be a reader who devours words regardless of genre. So I decided to also read the ones Raph got. Surprisingly, I have no issue with that. I think my issue is buying the books I don't usually read. So am I a cheapskate? *haha* Hold that thought. :)

May 11, 2015

The Taiko Effect at CCP

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A few days before the event I wasn't even sure if I was going. I had been quite unmotivated, but God has a way of nudging us so we realize it's time to move. When life gets tough, deliberately get lost in art, music, and culture. Your soul will thank you. So on my usually lazy Sunday, my restless soul went wandering.

The Taiko Effect - CCP


The Taiko Effect - CCP

From the first strum of the Koto; we were transported to a time of old old Japan. Where music is nature and nature is music.

The Koto is a traditional Japanese stringed musical instrument. I've heard it played once before by a UP Diliman Music student, he said the instrument requires a different tuning for every music sheet. So each bridge is moved and tuned. He used a tuning instrument at that time but the player from the Mt. Fuji orchestra did it by ear. すごい です ね! (Amazing right?!) The Koto is usually accompanied by another traditional Japanese instrument, the Shakuhachi (flute).

This is one of the pieces they played during the event: はる の うみ (Haru no Umi) or Spring of Sea.




The Taiko Effect - CCP

After the calming tunes of the Koto and Shakuhachi comes the heart pounding beats of the Taiko. Have you ever been so excited you forgot to breath? It happened to me multiple times throughout the whole night! It's clear that they don't do what theydo just for entertainment or vanity. You can see it their eyes. It's like they're in war and the only way to survive is to beat their drums and practice their craft. This is what fascinates me about Japan and its people, it's their attitude towards their craft. There is one word to describe it: Kodawari: obsessive pursuit for perfection. It goes beyond the simple thought of "I will do my best." It is devoting your whole life and energy to that craft.

The Taiko is commonly used as おまつり (festival) music. Experience it for yourself here, I'm so glad for these videos, I didn't sneak a photo or video because I wanted to experience their music without distraction:



A preview of what's to come! Please watch us at the CCP Main Theater this April 11 & 12 at 8pm.Tickets are still available!(Performance at Banzai: The Great Teppanyaki Theater, MOA)
Posted by The Taiko Project on Thursday, April 9, 2015



The Taiko Effect - CCP

There's an ache inside me whenever I think of this night.  It was simply magical. I firmly believe in investing more on experiences and not on material things like food, makeup or clothes. Don't get me wrong. I enjoy pampering myself with such things; but I don't let it be the sole thing that gives me happiness.

The Taiko Effect - CCP

Crossing my fingers they come back here again soon. :)

May 1, 2015

Ukiyoe Portraits exhibit

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Ukiyoe Portraits exhibit - UP Diliman

Oh summer how you punish us so. We managed to finally drag ourselves out of the house for this exhibit after putting it off week after week. Good thing we found time last week. I had been too excited to see this since I passed by a poster during one my jogging sessions. Although I was a little bit disappointed as I was expecting to see landscape Ukiyo-e paintings like the Great Wave of Kanagawa. The focus though is not just to showcase Japanese art but also its social relevance in our current times.

As brief background, Ukiyoe portraits and paintings became prominent in the 17th-19th century. They are made and replicated using woodblocks. The literal translation being pictures of the floating world. The art reflects the hedonistic lifestyle that flourished in Japan after the birth of the Shogun era (military dictatorship). The art often depicts the "popular culture" in those times, portraits of kabuki actors, artisans, geisha, images of Yoshiwara (pleasure district) and Edo period landscape.

"By illustrating the showy and fragile nature of human visuality and performativity in Edo period Japan, we would like to link this with the current globalized mania for personal fame and outrageous display that were prefigured by this uniquely Japanese urban popular culture." 

The exhibit is organized by Japan Foundation Manila and the Asian Center UP Diliman. In case you want to see the portraits they are on display at Japan Hall, GT Toyota, Asian Center until May 15, 2015. Entrance is free. ( ^_^)v

Ukiyoe Portraits exhibit - Tama River at Koya - Shuman Kubo