Sunday, March 28, 2010

仏教の車の祝福 Buddhist Car Blessing

It had been three weeks since Tinahime’s 2001 Chevy “Crapollier” had died on her. During this time the local Japanese Car dealerships have been feeling the backlash from Toyota’s recent tarnish to it’s long standing reputation. As a result, many of the other dealers have been offering zero down incentives on new purchases. Well we are not in the best of shape with me out of work and all but on a whim we thought ‘well what if we towed the “Crapollier” to a dealership and see if they will sell us a car with our credit and take this American POS off our hand.’ At first I wasn’t too optimistic given that in December of last year we were turned down on financing a $700.00 flat screen TV. But low & behold, they flew Tina’s credit and let her drive off the lot with a new 2010 Honda Civic on her credit and took the “Crapollier!” And to think Paul’s TV didn’t think she was good enough for a TV! ばか!

 Well that was Saturday and now Sunday morning had arrived. Usually we take my poor 1994 Honda to Little Tokyo to attend our Buddhist Temple and Aikido class afterwards. On a whim I suggested to Tinahime that she might want to ask Koyagami Sensei or Asahi Sensei if the Koyasan Buddhist Temple in Little Tokyo offered such services. Well, I figured that since they blessed my Iaito Sword and I know they offer much of the same services as the Shinto Shrine does, why not ask! Sure enough they do and without hesitation they went right to it after morning service.

I figured that if she is going to get stuck with those car notes you might as well do what you can to make sure this car lasts her. With a Buddhist Blessing she can't go wrong.

Not too many people are aware that the Temples offer such services. Even to some of our own regulars there thought this was a good idea and if it is a good Japanese Tradition there, it certainly is here too. Several incantations and prayers were offered by both Asahi Sensei and Koyagami Sensei as incense burned followed by the recital of the Heart Sutra which was done three times. Then they did a further blessing for the owner and concluded the ceremony with a Buddhist protective amulet to be presented to the owner. They ask for a small donation as any other temple but it is well worth it.
I wish Tinahime all the best with her new Honda Civic. I know my old Honda Civic has been the most reliable car I have ever owned. Who knows if my books ever get published or my films ever get made I'll be able to do the same thing but until that time I'll have to settle for the passenger seat with an a/c in her new cool "kawaii" mobile. She is already in love with it and has become overly protective of it. In fact she has become so protective I might have to change her name to Hondahime! なんちゃて!
Seriously Tina,
おめでとう ございます!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

櫻 祀 Sakura Matsuri 2010 Update

The 2010 Cherry Blossom Festival of Southern California is almost here! It will be taking place in Little Tokyo this April 10th & 11th 2010. As in years past Shinkendo will participate in the martial arts demonstrations with one new additional feature; ME! ほんと です か? はい! That's right! Yours truly, the author of American Mishima himself will be taking part of this years Shinkendo sword demonstration taking place on Sunday April 11th. So please come out and watch our demonstration as well as the many other events that will be taking place this year. We've always had fun at the Sakura Matsuri in Little Tokyo and this year shall be even more fun with me in the mix (I assure you there will be no beheadings accidental or otherwise or acts of seppuku in this demonstration of modern Samurai arts unless of course I make a mistake - なん-ちゃって!) so come out and enjoy the fun and all those かわいい girls in kimono!

For more information and a complete line up of events please visit the festivals official website at:
2010 Cherry Blossom Festival Southern California

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

新選組 Shinsengumi So Far....

The Shinsengumi has been the subect of films and television drama for some time. I had first heard of them when I first had seen the 1969 classic film of the same title starring Toshiro Mifune. But looking back to that film, I was left unsatisfied due to the way they tried to tell a long in depth story in brief. So recently I recently purchased a bootleg copy of the 2004 NHK 43rd Taiga Drama Shinsengumi that featured the exploits of the Shogun's "Newly Selected Corps" that policed the streets of Mibu to protect the Tokugawa Shogun in Kyoto during the last years of the Bakumatsu Period. So far we are thirteen episodes out of this 49 episode drama and we are loving it!

Shinsengumi stars Katori Shingo as Kondo Isami - the leader of the Shinsengumi, Yamamoto Koji as Hijikata Toshizou, and Fujiwara Tatsuya (who you may remember from Battle Royale) as the famed progeny Okita Soji. So far the acting is superb and the storyline riviting in the fashion you would come to expect from an NHK Taiga Drama. Depending on who you talk to, the Shinsengumi will always been seen as heroes, villianous ronin, or stubborn patriots who are both villified and revered to this day. We still have many episodes to go, so we will write more about this as we continue this series.

Monday, March 8, 2010

ひなまつり2010 - Hinamatsuri in Little Tokyo

The Japanese Girls Day or Festival of Dolls takes place every March 3rd. This year at the JACCC we were pleased to get an upclose look at 雛人形, hina-ningyō - the ornamental red carpeted display of platformed dolls representing the Emperor, Empress, Attendants, and Musicians. These displays go as far back as the Heian Period of Japan. We were fortunate enough to be granted an opportunity to see such a display outside of Japan.
There was also a traditional tea ceremony that took place in wich all who were present recieved traditional ocha (tea) and ceremonial sweets. This event was held next to the Japanese Garden in Little Tokyo and had notable attendies such as James Huang of the Shinkendo Dojo and Shige Higashi who is the creator of the Cultural News that is widely circulated in Little Tokyo and throughout the Japanese-American Community.

As you can see we were able to capture these photos upclose which we now have posted here so you can see this beautiful display in all their splendor and intricate detail for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!

たにょび2010 - Birthday at Oiwake

Konnichi-wa! Sorry for the delay in our latest post but as you may have guessed it was one busy memorable weekend. It all started with my birthday party put together by Tinahime held at Oiwake upstairs in the Japanese Plaza in Little Tokyo. It was a small gathering that included some of our old Goth friends like Brownie-San and some unexpected honored guests from the Shinkendo Dojo most specificly Shinkendo founder Toshishiro Obata and Mrs. Obata. I was most honored by their presence and subsequent Sake toast. But that wasn't the only suprise. Along with the Obata's came Nicolas Sensei, Gabriel Sensei, Isabel Sempai, Mathew Sensei and his wife Emily.

We did not get a photo with Mathew Sensei. We started hitting the sake early and by the time we started staking photos they had already left. But that's ok. I was happy that Mathew Sensei was the first to arrive with a bottle of vino in hand.

We had a few other good friends show up such as Janet and her boyfriend as well as Sydney & Ryan who were getting married the following day but it mostly turned out to be a fun small gathering with a cross section of the Shinkendo Sensei's of the Honbu Dojo.  Many Thanks to Nikki-San and everyone who came out to help me celibrate my 42nd Birthday. ありがとう!!!

Photo With Tinahime.

Monday, March 1, 2010

さん がつ March and the Madness of the Past

Konnichi-wa! March is here and with it the anniversary of things to consider. On Friday, I will turn 42. I am still out of work after two years and not out of financial trouble. I continue to train in the Samurai Arts and partake in both Buddhist and Shinto ceremonies. I have yet to have any of my screen plays published or made into films and my current novel is still in the works. Under the Buddhist and Shinto Calendars, this is still a critical year for those of us born in 1968. I have now been writing for over a year with four books partially written and a score of screen plays. As the letters from lawyers come in from accounts I have defaulted as a result of my two year unemployment, I have to examine if there is a light at the end of my tunnel. I was here a year ago but unlike then my sense of purpose has changed. I have decided to no longer pursue work in the Information Technology field. After two years of rejection and my hunger to return to the film industry has returned, for me to do anything else would be baka. There is nothing certain about this move but it will allow me to continue to write until I can become published and inevitably a full fledged producer of Japanese –American films. American Mishima will rise and with it will come the means for me to get to Japan. So as some would argue come this Friday my two years of crisis will come to an end and perhaps with some small movie work I will be able to pay some of my creditors and move forward. All one can do is try and never lose hope.

It was a year ago on my birthday that I tried to end my life and as a result was thrown in prison for an unrelated crime I did not commit. Much has changed in this last year. In that time I became inspired by my meeting with Dexter & Six Feet Under star Michael C. Hall who in our conversation encouraged me to go for my dreams. To do so otherwise would be the death of the soul. What he said carried weight with me. In the darkest of places I prayed and offered my apologies to the Kami who I had offended and the Buddha’s mercy. They answered my prayers and relased me from bondage of despair. Since that time they have brought me full circle. My problems will not be solved over night nor will my books be completed in time to save me from being sued. I must continue with Samurai determination and not fail those who still believe in me. I have something to live for now. Which brings me to my favorite Babylon 5 quote from the fictional Book of G’Quan: “There is a greater darkness than the one we fight. It is the darkness of the soul who has lost its way. The war we fight is not against powers or principalities. It is against chaos and despair. Greater than the death of the flesh is the death of hope, the death of dreams. Against this peril we can never surrender. The future is all around us, waiting in moments of transition, to be born in moments of revelation. No one knows the shape of that future or where it will take us. We only know it is born in pain.”