The New Year period is a busy time for Noh actors! Augural plays wishing long life and happiness are performed at various locations, especially Shinto shrines. If you are in Kyoto during the first week of January 2016, I recommend that you check out these FREE Noh performances.
Link to a (partial) performance calendar of the Kongo school here)
January 1st Friday from 12:30 @Heian Shrine. Ritual Noh performance. Okina. Shite: Kongo Hisanori.
January 3rd Sunday from 09:00 @Yasaka Shrine. Okina. Shite: Katayama Kuroemon. Shimai: Tsurukame. Shite: Kongo Hisanori.
January 3rd Sunday from 12:30 @Kongo Noh theatre. First performance of the year. Recitation of the chant of Okina, shimai and maibayashi (Iwafune Shite: Kongo Tatsunori).
Cycling in the snow this morning reminded me of Mishima’s Spring Snowwhich I am reading these days. In one of the salient passages of the book, set in the Taisho period (1912-1926), the protagonists Kiyoaki and Satoko take a rickshaw ride on a snowy morning in Tokyo. Covered with various layers of technologic fibre from top to bottom, and still shivering while waiting for the green light at the bicycle crossing, I imagined Kiyoaki and Satoko riding the rickshaw, him dressed in his school uniform, her in a winter kimono and coat, with only a blanket on their knees as additional warming device. In this scene the two exchange their first kiss, as frosty hands move underneath the blanket. With this kind of temperature it would be the last thing I want.
Then I realised that people can stand different temperatures according to the environment in which they grew up. Japanese students today still wear shorts in winter, and some girls still wear a skirt and short socks. British people would go out in their t-shirt on a sunny but cold february day. Not to mention what girls would wear on the same night out.
Two years ago I attended the performance of Okina performed by the Iemoto Kongo Hisanori at Yasaka-jinja in Kyoto. I think it was January 3rd and I was observing chorus members sitting in the back of the outdoor stage, dressed in traditional clothes… and I was wondering how many Uniqlo heat-tech garments or kairo heating patches they were actually wearing.