Rebecca’s Reflections

It’s Just a Cup of Tea

It’s Just a Cup of Tea

For part one of this story, see previous post, My first—and only—Omiai. And you thought omiai were just for fictional characters in Japanese novels! It was April 1977.  I had a dance recital in the large auditorium of a fancy hotel across from Hakata Station.  I had...

My first—and only—Omiai

My first—and only—Omiai

In Tanizaki Jun’ichirō’s novel, Sasameyuki (serialized 1943-1948; translated The Makioka Sisters by Edward Seidensticker, 1957), the action centers around finding the third sister a suitable marriage partner.  Matchmakers busily scour the field in search of...

My First Kimono

My First Kimono

Mother bought me a kimono of my own for my birthday. When she understood my love of Japanese dance and my deep and growing interest in Japanese culture, she wanted me to have a kimono. She had one. Or at least she had, had one. When she lived in Japan in the 1950s a...

Cherry Blossoms and Samurai Drinking Songs

Cherry Blossoms and Samurai Drinking Songs

I learned three dances that year. I started with “Sakura” (Cherry blossom). Everyone starts with “Sakura.” Lydia was ahead of me in her lessons. So Ura Sensei taught her the more difficult “Kuroda bushi” or “Song of the Kuroda Samurai,” ostensibly a “drinking song”...

First Steps in Dance and Kimono

First Steps in Dance and Kimono

I had my first experience with Japanese dance, or Nihon buyō, in 1976. I was 19 and living in Fukuoka with my missionary parents. It was my third trip to Japan, but the first one I really remembered. My first trip was in 1956, when I was born on the kitchen table in...

The History of Japanese Dance

The History of Japanese Dance

The word for traditional dance in Japanese, buyō 舞踊、combines the character mai, 舞, with that of odori, 踊, and suggests the syncretic nature of the art form. Whereas dance has been omnipresent in Japan since the beginning of time, the word buyō is a relatively modern...

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