Samurai Dave: The Roving Ronin Report

Rambling Narrative of Travels, Thoughts, and Embellishments

Geisha Dance as Snow Falls

Maiko (geisha apprentice) dance while snowflakes fall at Yasaka Shrine in Kyoto accompanied with Japanese poetry on snow and winter.

March 2, 2012 Posted by | dance, Geiko, geisha, Geisha Dance, japan, japanese culture, maiko, poetry, snow, travel | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Bean-Throwing Geisha Celebrate Setsubun in Kyoto

February 2nd, while Americans watch groundhogs and their shadows, Japanese, or at least those in Kyoto, watch Geisha perform the Japanese version of Groundhog Day known as Setsubun. Setsubun is a sp…
February 2nd, while Americans watch groundhogs and their shdows, Japanese, or at least those in Kyoto, watch Geisha perform the Japanese version of Groundhog Day known as Setsubun. Setsubun is a spring ritual in which Japanese throw beans to ward off invisible evils and hasten the end of winter. At many temples and shrines they do a bean throwing ceremony known as mami-maki.

At Yasaka Shrine in Kyoto some of the bean throwers are geisha or rather maiko – geisha apprentices. Geisha are known as geiko in the Kansai dialect.

I got a packet of beans and ate them (also a Setsubun tradtion) washed down with Kirin Beer (a Samurai Dave tradition)

February 3, 2010 Posted by | culture, dance, Geiko, geisha, Geisha Dance, japan, japanese culture, Kyoto, Setsubun, travel, video, vlog | , , , , , | 5 Comments

Tokyo Decadance Halloween 2009

Tokyo Decadance Halloween 2009

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Decadant particpants at Tokyo Decadance Halloween

Another fun-filled Tokyo Decadance event with sexy sirens, wickedly wild witches, ghoulish goblins, devious devils, rollicking robots, newhalf ninja, vicious violinists, plundering pirates, alliterating *ssholes, and god knows what else for Halloween.

Also in attendance was Rolly Teranishi who performed at last year’s Halloween event. Here he sang two songs from the cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show in Japanese with a bit of English.

Rolly Teranishi was a member of the Japanese rock band Scanch before going solo. He’s a big fan of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and has played Dr. Frank-N-Furter in Japanese stage versions.

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Hoichi the Earless(?) and Pretty Devil enjoy Tokyo Decadance

One of my favorite costumes at the event was the girl dressed up as Hoichi the Earless even though she still had her ears. This is from an old ghost story where a blind biwa player unknowingly played for the ghosts of a defeated samurai clan. In order to save him from eventual destruction, Buddhist priests covered his body in sacred texts but they forget to cover his ears. When a ghost came to fetch Hoichi, the sacred writing prevented him from seeing the biwa player save for his two ears which he ripped from Hoichi’s head.

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wickedly sweet witch

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Transformer chick – wearing less than meets the eye

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rollicking robot

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Christon Cafe – a church-themed restaurant and club

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Adrien le Danois – Founder of Tokyo Decadance

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Cap’n Blackjack Dave on the prowl for booty

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pirate with fetish poster

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Is Tokyo Decadance a Biohazard?

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Cutie devil makes going to hell seem fun

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Goth Geisha girl with coffin handbag

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Spooky DJ

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pink petite maid

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french maid

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sleepy devil

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A cake with endowments for Tokyo Decadance’s 4th Anniversary

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Cap’n Blackjack Dave bemused and bewigged

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Cute Cop ready to lay down the law

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The stuff of nightmares…

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Ditto

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Naughty Nurse, Sultry Wednesday, Zombie Bride, and Goth Geisha Vampire

October 30, 2009 Posted by | clubbing, cosplay, costumes, crossdressing, dance, Goth Girls, goth lolita, halloween, japan, Japanese subculture, party, Rolly Teranishi, sexy, subculture, tokyo, tokyo decadance, travel, video, weird, WTF, youtube | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Nishimonai Bon Odori – Japanese Dance for the Dead Video

In the small town of Nishimonai in the northern prefecture of Akita, the locals perform a Bon Odori – a special dance for Obon which is a time for honoring the ancestors.

The Nishimonai Bon Odori is unique in that some of the dancers were a black hood to represents the spirits of the deceased. Other dancers wear a patchwork kimono of silk fabric known as hanui and a woven straw hat called a amigasa.

You can’t see the faces of the dancers which gives the whole dance a kind of surreal quality.

For those practicing Japanese, take the challenge in seeing if you can comprehend the Akita-ben (dialect) of the singers.

September 24, 2009 Posted by | Akita, Bon Odori, culture, dance, festival, japan, japanese culture, Nishimonai, Nishimonai Bon Odori, Obon, tohoku, tradition, travel, video, vlog, youtube | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Nishimonai Bon Odori – Japanese Dance for the Dead

Japanese Town Dances to Remember the Dead
Nishimonai Bon Odori

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Nishimonai Bon Odori – Japanese Dance for the Dead

Obon is the time in Japan to pay respect to ancestral spirits. Japanese will travel to their home towns in order to pray at their ancestors’ graves. It’s believed the spirits of the departed return during the 3-day holiday – mainly in mid-August. These returning spirits are not to be feared like the ones that come with Halloween. In fact, they are welcomed and many communities put on a variety of celebrations.

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Some dancers wear a black hood to represent deceased spirits

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One of the most common features of Obon is the Bon Odori, a special dance for Obon. Bon Odori dances vary from region to region each having their own particular form.

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Some of the dancers wear a straw hat known as amigasa

In the small town of Nishimonai in the northern prefecture of Akita, the locals perform a Bon Odori which is a mixture of an old harvest dance and a memorial to a fallen samurai lord.

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The Nishimonai Bon Odori is unique in that some of the dancers were a black hood to represents the spirits of the deceased. Other dancers wear a patchwork kimono of silk fabric known as hanui and a woven straw hat called a amigasa.

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Some dancers wear hanui a patchwork kimono of silk fabric

The dancers’ faces are obscured by the hoods and straw hats giving the dance a surreal ghostly-like quality.

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The singers sing in the old Akita dialect which many Japanese outside of Akita have difficulty understanding.

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The Nishimonai Bon Odori takes place just after the traditional dates for Obon from August 16-18, the big day being the 18th where the dance lasts for several hours in the evening.

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September 22, 2009 Posted by | Akita, Bon Odori, culture, dance, festival, japan, japanese culture, matsuri, Nishimonai, Nishimonai Bon Odori, Obon, tohoku, tradition, travel | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Modern Deadly Arts of the Samurai – JPOP

The samurai were Japan’s elite warrior class of long ago – masters of many deadly weapons and stern possessors of martial fighting skills.

In Tokyo’s modern mecca of electronics and anime, Akihabara, the samurai have re-emerged as masters of a new deadly art.

Also check out my earlier video on the secret desire of the ninja:

These stealthy assassins of yore…what lurks deep in their hearts? 

Their whole lives are dedicated to their craft…to stealth, to sabotage, to espionage, to theft, and to assassination. 

But what do they dream of when they allow themselves to succumb to sleep’s gentle embrace? 

What is it that they secretly yearn to do? 

Watch this video and learn “The Secret Desire of the Ninja”

April 7, 2009 Posted by | akihabara, comedy, dance, humor, j-pop, j-rock, japan, japanese culture, jpop, music, ninja, rock band, samurai, tokyo, travel, video, vlog, weird, WTF, youtube | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Decadent Halloween at Tokyo Decadance – Vid and Photos

Decadent Halloween at Tokyo Decadance

Here are some photos from Tokyo Decadance’s big halloween party shindig.


God, I love Japan!

Tokyo Decadance is a semi-monthly club event that serves as an eclectic gathering for goth, lolita, cyber, fetish, and what-not. Really it’s practically Halloween everytime you go.


This is her usual get-up

The Halloween event was held in Christon Cafe which is a church-themed restaurant.

One can do some soul searching while waiting for bread rolls.


She wears this to the office – the S&M office where she works


Just Chillin’ Out!


This was Tokyo’s Decadance’s 3rd Anniversary – yes, those are dicks on the cake.


A little light lesbianism at Tokyo Decadance


Tokyo Decadance Founder – Adrien Le Danois (on the left)


When Angels and Ewoks mate…


Somewhere over the rainbow…


Too much Decadance


Alas, poor Yorick! We ate him well!


Hey, now!


Tempted by the devil


A trio of sleeping beauties


Is that a wand in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?


Tengu Goblin is a hit with the ladies for some reason

A look at Tokyo Decadance

November 6, 2008 Posted by | Blogroll, culture, dance, entertainment, japan, life, music, Rolly Teranishi, S&M, sexy, tokyo, tokyo decadance, travel, video, youtube | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hot Wet Sexy Japanese Samba!!!

Rain makes for Slippery Samba in Tokyo
Tokyo’s Asakusa Samba Carnival dances on despite showers


A Rain-soaked Samba Dancer defies downpour

Tokyo’s traditional Asakusa district once more swayed and bopped to the exotic strains of Brazilian samba music. Asakusa’s annual Samba Carnival festival took place this past Saturday, August 30th. Asakusa has been holding this event on the last Saturday of August for over twenty years and it never fails to draw a huge crowd.


Samba dancers in front of Senso-ji Temple’s gate


Nigh-naked be-feathered dancing samba girls move to the beat of Brazilian music and the feverish whirl and click of thousands of cameras held sweatily in hand by overly-enthusiastic photographers.



Every year, the samba groups choose a theme for their presentation. The nigh-naked samba girls are nearly always the same with feathers, tiara, and sequins but their companions sport different costumes every year based on a chosen theme.


Jesus makes a guest appearance



One group’s theme was based on sumo. Two performers twirled bows similar to the way that sumo wrestlers do at the end of each day of a sumo tournament. A large float was made out to depict a Yokozuna – sumo champion. The strangest part of the group by far were four golden gals wearing masks and very little else.





A Golden Duo

This year saw a bit of Akihabara otaku (nerd) culture mixed with saucy samba. Scantily-clad girls in outlandish sci-fi outfit pretended to fire space age cannons in rhythm to the music. The musicians were dressed like the bug-eyed abducting type aliens who appear in all those UFO documentaries and redneck nightmares. There were no probes to be seen, however.


Otaku (nerd) Samba – space age cuties fire imaginary rockets

Another odd ensemble was a group of pink haired heavy metal guys pulling a float from which hung suspended in air a black pig with large pink polka dots and skull and crossbones. My favorite one that summed up Japanese cutesy-ness was the midriff-baring girls wearing polar bear paws as gloves and a polar bear head as a hat.


Pink haired Heavy Metal Rockers with their pink polka-dotted pig


Polar bear girls?

The weather in Tokyo has been strange recently and it’s dubious presence was felt at this year’s Samba event. At the beginning, it was sunny, hot, and very humid. Sweat rolled down performers and spectators alike. Then suddenly the skies darkened and shortly afterwards rain began cascading downward.


Unfeathered wet dancing samba girls


Spectators either opened umbrellas or fled under awnings. The samba performers did not have either option. Surprisingly they didn’t call off or postpone the event. Undaunted by the pouring rain and the potential for electrocution by their sound systems, the samba performers wiped the rain from their brows and resolutely carried on.


Damp fairies flitter about

The samba dancing girls discarded their feathers weighed down as they were with rainwater. On the bright side, the nigh-naked once-befeathered dancing samba girls were now unfeathered wet dancing samba girls – a silver lining to our rain cloud.



Rain can’t stop a samba girl from having a good time

September 6, 2008 Posted by | Asakusa, Blogroll, brazil, carnaval, carnival, culture, dance, entertainment, festival, japan, japanese culture, life, samba, sexy, tokyo, travel | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Secret Desire of the Ninja

The Secret Desire of the Ninja

These stealthy assassins of yore…what lurks deep in their hearts?

Their whole lives are dedicated to their craft…to stealth, to sabotage, to espionage, to theft, and to assassination.

But what do they dream of when they allow themselves to succumb to sleep’s gentle embrace?

What is it that they secretly yearn to do?

Watch this short documentary or “ninjumentary” and learn “The Secret Desire of the Ninja.

It’s also up for votes on Current TV but some pretentious little snots have voted negative on it because they’ve got no love for the Ninja. Go over there and show your support for the Ninja and vote green:

http://current.com/items/89073179_the_secret_desire_of_the_ninja

July 5, 2008 Posted by | Blogroll, comedy, culture, dance, entertainment, humor, japan, life, ninja, tokyo, Tokyo Design Festa, travel, video, youtube | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Artistic Chaos – The Tokyo Design Festa

Artistic Chaos!!!
The Tokyo Design Festa – a chaotic ensemble of art


The Tokyo Design Festa


Anime fan wearing an all handmade costume

As I entered the futuristic-looking Tokyo Big Site building on Odaiba Island, I was greeted by a person with the head of fish. Beyond him/her/it and all about the place wandered a colorful assortment of strange characters which appeared to have been born in fertile imaginations bred on Japanese Anime, Gothic Horror, and Salvador Dali. It was then that I knew I had reached my destination: the Tokyo Design Festa.


Fishhead man advertising


Getting a leg up or two at Tokyo Design Festa


Usagi – Drumming Rabbits – Female Taiko Group

Design Festa is a chaotic showcase of artists, musicians, craftsmen, designers, dancers, and performers – the sublime mixed with the avant garde. The Design Festa takes place twice a year in Tokyo and has been going on for 14 years.


A Wild Wall

Artists come from all over the world to participate. Booths are set up to showcase their creations and crafts. Visitors can look at, handle, and purchase their favorite pieces. In addition they have the chance to talk with the artist to learn more about them and their artwork.


An artist below one of her works


Painter creating art at the Festa

For artists, the Design Festa gives them the opportunity to get their work noticed and possibly sold. The event is a breeding ground for future art as a lot of networking goes on between artists which can lead to potential collabrations.


Pint-size masters at work


Ninja getting down with their badselves


A twirling ghost

There is so much to see, do, and absorb in a weekend at Design Festa. The place is literally a beehive of activity. There are performances to see, workshops to attend, bands to hear, painters to watch, and oddity to puzzle over.


Geisha Gone Godzilla


Panda Man! He eats, shoots, and leaves.

Some of the booths offer short workshops to teach visitors a bit their craft. I tried my hand at the ancient art of Japanese calligraphy. Calligraphy in old Japan was considered an all important skill. In the far off days of the Heian Period (794-1192), a person’s calligraphy was believed to be a mirror of their character. I would have been laughed out of the Heian Court with my paltry attempt at the turtle kanji character. My turtle looked a bit more like a sickly chicken strung up by clumsy anti-poultry vigilantes. My teacher, a ten year old girl, was patient with me and guided me as best as she could.


Me with my Calligrapher Teacher


Anime School Girl Calligrapher

At a makeup special effects booth, visitors were able to get horrific body scars which didn’t hurt a bit. I got myself a nice deep scar running down my arm which later fooled a few drunks at my local bar.


I got scarred at Tokyo Design Festa


A bloody guitarist

There were several fantasical creations from this booth wandering around surprising the unwary and small children. One was tall elegant alien creature frighteningly realistic but fortunately sweetenly demure.


A very realistic alien courtesy of special effects make up

Another creation was a ghastly sculpture of a half-tree half-woman monster with the severed head of a man in her/its hand. Her/Its roots were nourished with the blood and gore of other men. It was a macarbe cocktail of environmentalism and feminism blended horrifically together.


Environmental Feminism at its goriest


A samurai fiercely guarding his booth

Along with the countless booths, there are a variety of showings throughout the day in different sections of the event area. Bands, short films, musicians, eclectic performers can be seen outside, upstairs, and in the main hall. I was able to see rock bands, taiko drum groups, naughty nurses, a gyrating eyeball man, and a dancing ninja troupe.


A band performing at the outdoor stage


Guitarist licks lips as he rips licks


The Bufferins – naughty pain relievers

One of the popular returning performance groups is Mr. Eyeball Love Globe from Taiwan. The group is headed by man with an enormous eyeball as his head. His outfit is covered with a similar pattern. His story from his flyer is that he is an alien here to spread love. The Eyeball group was one of the most out-there groups and attracted a lot of attention. They have been to Design Festa several times before.


Mr Eyeball Love Globe Group from Taiwan


Avant-Garde at its Warholian best

Design Festa takes place twice a year in May and November. For more information please check:

http://www.designfesta.com/index.html

July 2, 2008 Posted by | art, avant-garde, Blogroll, cosplay, costumes, culture, dance, entertainment, event, festival, japan, japanese culture, life, music, ninja, painters, painting, tokyo, Tokyo Design Festa, travel | , , , , | 4 Comments