Day 2: Lecture on Noh

We set out to Terminal Kyoto at 9:20 AM today. I was able to see the Buddhist sculptures made by sculptor Miyamoto that I researched. I noticed the texture of sculpture and the pattern of the wood used much more. Especially how the sculptures are carved so that the ring pattern starts on the forehead.

We were really honored to have received a lecture from Professor Monica Bethe. I read an article and a chapter of a book written by her, and have seen her cited in multiple articles on Noh. I gained a lot of information about Noh from her, and what stood out the most to me was the musical aspect of noh. I had never thought about it before. I was focused on the mask and costume, because that is what I am in charge of. The 3 4 time signature and the shifts in the repeated musical pattern is definitely something I will look out for. Certain plays call for slight changes in the repeated musical pattern, such as omitting the rests. Having knowledge of the intricacies of know will allow me to enjoy it more tomorrow.

After the lecture by Professor Bethe, we were free to explore Kyoto on our own. We decided to first visit Kinkaku-ji today. It was very crowded, but we were able to find a few locations to have a good look at the temple. I was amazed by how different the temple looked depending on the intensity of the sunlight and distance from the temple. It looked more beautiful from afar than up close, as I thought it looked more beautiful when seen with the surrounding forest and reflection of the pond.  From up close, I was able to see the details of the different layers of the temple. The second layer was simplistic and mostly smooth, while the third floor had many windows.

We trekked to Ryoan-ji, where the main attraction was its Zen rock garden. We were able to sit in front of the rock garden, right before a large group of people came in. The rock garden has 15 stones, but is designed so that only 14 are visible at any position of the designed seating. From my seat, I interpreted, from left to right, the two stones that are not surrounded by moss are two souls approaching the mortal realm. The two rocks were not equidistant from the first patch of moss, so I interpreted that as they enter the mortal realm at different times. The different sizes of the two rocks on the first patch of moss support my interpretation. Then on the second patch of moss, there are two rocks again. This is when the two mortals fall in love with each other. There are then three rocks on the third patch, which can be interpreted as the two mortals having a child. The rocks shift from a rough texture to a smooth texture on the third moss patch as well, which can be interpreted as the mortals becoming gentle with love for their child. There are two rough rocks on the fourth moss patch. The two rocks are similar in size, which contrasts with the rocks in the previous patches. This can be interpreted as the child leaving the couple, and the larger mortal becoming sick as well, which resulted in the size of the rocks becoming equal. On the fifth patch of moss are two rocks, with one mostly buried under ground. This can be interpreted as one of the mortals dying. I could not have made this interpretation sitting on the other side of the seats, as a different rock would be not visible.

side note: I ate udon for lunch today and ramen for dinner. We did not notice that smoking was allowed in the two restaurants that we went to. It was annoying, as we all do not smoke. The food was not bad, but did not stand out as much as the food on the other days. I hope to try something really good tomorrow. I’ll probably check out some reviews online.






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