Friday, March 31, 2006

The Taste of Japan: Performances: Okii Taiko, Classical Dances, Songs, Tanko Bushi

Okii Taiko

Thank you to Dr. Tom Warm and the Okii Taiko Drummers for a great opening.

Information about Okii Taiko
Special thanks to Dr. Tom Warm, Okii Taiko, Director for the pictures

Okii Taiko was formed in 2002. They are called "Okii", because they are from Oklahoma, but also because in Japanese "okii" means "large" or "great". "Taiko" means "big drum", so "Okii Taiko" means "great, big drum". They are an amateur group, who perform for the joy of playing taiko drums. They give about 12 performances per year. They have given performances at many local venues, including the OK Art Museum, Tinker AFB, OCCC, OU, UCO, OCU, Rose State Univ., Governor's Mansion, Myriad Gardens, FAA, Will Rogers Park, plus local churches, libraries, retirement homes, and schools. Next month they will be performing at the 2006 Festival of the Arts on the Myriad Gardens Water Stage.
Japanese Classical Dances
Botanzishi: CelebrationTozan Yume Yugiko (Mrs. Mari Leslie)
Yosakura Ohichi: Cherry Blosson Tomo Nakashima

Special thanks to Ye-Geun for her pictures

The first dance performed at the Taste of Japan was Botanzishi or Celebration inspires us to imagine two cubs playing in a valley surrounded by majestic mountains. The valley is covered with beautiful flowers and butterflies. The scenery is simply breathtaking. Time passes by and the cubs become husband and wife and live happily ever after. Botanzishi is usually performed at weddings or after couples build a home. Tozan Yume Yugiku, performed Celebration.

The second dance performed at the Taste of Japan was Yosakura Oshichi, Cherry Blosson. This dance is based on a true story. It narrates the story of a girl named Oshichi whose house burned on a fire and her family had to stay at a temple where Oshichi falls in love with a young monk. Because of class differences, this love is prohibited. Oshichi becomes insane with love and burns her house again hoping to return to the temple. She is severely punished. Oshichi ends her days dreaming about the monk at parks covered with cherry blossoms. Yosakura Oshichi was performed by Miss Tomomi Nakashima performed

Six Grade Dazling Performance of Fire Fly and Sakura Sakura
Tanko Bushi
Coal Miners Folk Song
Tanko Bushi, the Coal Mining Dance is a folk dance from one of the coal mining regions of Japan, and is frequently danced during the Obon festival. In much the same way that a Hawai'ian hula dancer's movements tell a story, the movements of Tanko Bushi show what life is like as a Japanese coal miner. Casady students learned Tanko Bushi from Mrs. Leslie who also designed and made their happi coats for this memorable and interactive way of ending the Taste of Japan Experience. Tozan Yumi Yogiku deligted Taste of Japan participants when she sang this song as Mrs. Taylor, Deepika'08 and Middle Division students performed the dance and then asked for audience participation to end the Taste of Japan interactively.
Please find the music at :

Taste of Japan Scenes: Tea Ceremony and Kimono Demonstration

Mrs. Yumie Farringer, Miss Yukiko Yokono and several helpers from Tulsa conducted the kimono demonstration and tea ceremony workshop. Sarah'07 and Mary'09 modeled the Kimonos during the workshops and at the grand finale during the fashion show.

Here is Yukiko's reflection: I truly enjoyed the Taste of Japan and working with you. I could only see our tea ceremony and grand finale, but we had many audiences there and they seemed to enjoy and have learned a lot from the festival. Also this is our first time to do tea ceremony in Oklahoma City, we were so happy to expand our activities, and we could meet other Japanese communities there.
The assistants at the tea ceremony were big help. Mary and Sarah helped us more than we expected. They were thoughtful, patient and caring us in various ways. We were so happy to have such beautiful and kind ladies as assistants. Also we believe that they had a good opportunity to wear kimono and experience Japanese traditional culture. I hope that Casady School could have this wonderful international project yearly from now on. The Taste of Japan was first and very successful event for Casady, Oklahoma City (Oklahoma), Japanese communities and Japan, I believe.

Scenes from the Taste of Japan: Shuji

June'07, Mrs. Hideko Nakagawa and Mr. Hiroshi Watanabe made a great Shuji team. I saw young children proudly displaying their Japanese Calligraphy-Shuji on their T-shirts. It was nice to see how proud they were of what they had learned. Thank you Shuji team.

Taste of Japan Scenes: Japanese Kites

Kites had a great appeal during pre-registration. The mother and son team brought many participants to the Taste of Japan. Participants proudly displayed their kites as they walked through the McClendon Halls.

Taste of Japan Scenes: Aikido

Mr. Ken Drye and his Windsong Dojo did a wonderful job introducing the participants to the art of Aikido. I do not have pictures of Mr. Drye and his Dojo demonstrating, but here are some of the Kendo instructors during a break using the mats to demonstrate their knowledge of Aikido.

Special thanks to the Casady Athletic Department for allowing the Windsong Dojo to use the wrestling mats and to Mr. Randy Fresonke, Operations manager for bringing the mats to the McClendon building.

Taste of Japan Scenes: Origami

Ye-Geun'06 and Mrs. Fumiko Street and Mrs. Tomoko Craig worked without breaks because their participants did not want to leave the room. A kid said: "Origami was great."

Participants received a beautiful DVD made by Caitlin'07 to practice and continue learning.

If I learn how to do it, I will dowlowd the DVD here soon.

Taste of Japan Scenes: Kendo

Thank you to Dr. Bonnie Gerard for the pictures of the Taste of Japan.

Bryan Mosley and his Kendo Dojo teaching the principles of Kendo. Erick'09 received great praise from Mr. Mosley for his help during this workshop. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Preliminary reflection on the Taste of Japan

I could write forever about how exhasted I am and how happy I feel, but as I wrote to Liane Louie on Sunday, March 26, 2006 8:08 AM "Taste of Japan was a great time for all. I learned so much! We will read the Buddhist story you sent as an example of why our Taste of Japan was so important; we placed a community need-awareness of the Japanese culture in OKC- and we were the hands that fed others at the same time as we fed ourselves. It is the best example of reciprocity I have ever encountered. I met Liane at the NAIS Conference in Boston and she closed her wonderful presentation with the Buddhist Story that expresses how I feel about the Taste of Japan the morning after, IN HEAVEN.

Thank you Lianne for a great story of the power and beauty of service.

The Power and Beauty of Service

There is a Buddhist story of a boy who wants to learn more about Heaven and Hell.
He is brought to the dinner table inside hell where he sees the most wonderful feast he has ever seen - delightful dishes of meat and fish and piles of fruit. Chairs were arranged on both sides and chopsticks to eat with were neatly set upon the table. “How could this place be hell?” the boy wondered.

Then suddenly, appearing out of nowhere, hungry ghosts and spirits from the world of hell began to gather. They were all restless and making a big fuss. When all the spirits were finally seated, they began fighting for the chopsticks.

Then something strange happened. The chopsticks started to grow, becoming longer and longer, and longer, until they were all three feet long. The hungry ghosts tried to eat with their long chopsticks. But they couldn’t. Even if they could pick something up, they couldn’t put it into their mouths. After some time had passed, the red doors of the dining room opened, and a large, black gaping hole appeared. Mealtime was over. The hungry ghosts, still hungry, threw down their long chopsticks and slowly got up from the table.

Then he was taken to the dining room in Heaven. He noticed that everything looked exactly like the dining room in hell. “What’s the difference?” he wondered. The boy looked closely and noticed that the pairs of chopsticks were already three feet long. Then quietly and with grace, happy-looking people started to gather around the table. “How are they going to eat with those long chopsticks?” the boy thought.

After sitting down, the people began picking up the food with their very long chopsticks and, instead of trying to feed themselves, they began putting it into the mouths of the people sitting on the other side of the table. They took turns feeding each other, giving the other person whatever they wanted to eat.

The boy was very touched. He then understood the difference between the two worlds – that caring about each other, not just your own self, is what made the dining room in heaven so wonderful and different from the one in hell.

Prepared by Shinnyo-en Foundation, 2006

Thursday, March 09, 2006

You are invited to Casady's Taste of Japan

Casady’s Youth and Adult Advisory and Action Council (YAC) Presents
A Taste of Japan-Nihon No Ajiwai

Come and experience the magic of the Japanese culture in Oklahoma, one of the best hidden secrets of Oklahoma City’s multicultural tapestry.
We hope to see you at the “Nihon No Ajiwai -Taste of Japan” on Saturday, March 25, 2006. Make your reservations as soon as possible!
The Casady YAC
Main Schedule
Okii Taiko: Japanese Drumming Performance
Opening Remarks by
Charles Britton, Headmaster
George Nigh, Former Oklahoma Governor, Interim Director of Tourism

Pre-register to reserve your favorite workshop. Limited workshop capacity
Art sale and Japanese snacks during workshop breaks
Short Japanese films in Fee Theater
Grand Finale
Japanese Classical Dances
A Casady Surprise (Japanese Fashion Show, A Japanese Folk Dance, and a Choral Performance)
Food Sampling by Japanese Sumo Steak House

Schedule of Workshops
Single Sessions 3:15-4:45
Ikebana: Flower arrangements
Sumi-e: Japanese brush painting
Double Sessions 3:15-4:00, 4:15-5:00
Tea Ceremony with Kimono Demonstration

Triple Sessions 3:15-3:45, 4:00-4:30, 4:50-5:20
Aikido: Martial Arts The JFMF Teacher Program
Bonsai Demonstration Japanese Food Demonstration
Karate: Martial Arts Manga-Anime: Animation
Kendo: Martial Arts Tanko Bushi: Dance Class Feudalism: The Samurai Shinto Shrines
Japanese Kites Shuji:: Japanese Calligraphy
Logistical Details and Cost
Saturday, March 25, 2006
2:00 p.m.-6:30 p.m.
Calvert Hall, Casady School
How Much?
Tickets: Cost includes entertainment, workshops, and food sampling meal
$ 5.00 In Advance
$7.00 On Site
Mail Checks and your choice of workshops to:
Casady School Taste of Japan Fund
9500 North Pennsylvania
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73120
Or Contact Carmen Clay at:
749-3103 –520-3103

The Nihon No Ajiwai is made possible by a grant from the
Japan Foundation Center For Global Partnerships and local Oklahoma City donor friends