We have just watched 2001 A Space Odissey on DVD. That was such a remarkable film. I still remember my parents telling me about it when they firstly saw it, ages ago (to be precise when the film was released, was that the 60's? Anyway, a long long time ago). I was very impressed by their opinions about it, although I did not understand much - I was still a little girl. But those things always interested me. At that time I dreamt about being an astronomer, and all the images they described to me were just perfect: the Moon and Jupiter, the monolith, the pitch black, soundless space. I saw it at least 8 times in my adolescence. And it's a film I still love. It's perfect, and it looks "clean". Not like the new Sci-Fi films, where the locations, spacecrafts and even people look quite dodgy, and almost "dirty", dark, dusty... Well, after my parents told me about it, the perspective of a year "2001" was always in my mind: where will I be, how old will I be by then, and what will I be doing. I did not become an astronomer though. And here I am...
What else happened these days? I started a new medication 2 weeks ago, Provigil it's called. The neurologists give it to narcoleptic patients, and MS patients suffering of fatigue (my case). It seems to be working OK, but sometimes I have my doubts. I was quite tired today and spent most of the day in bed (asleep of course), but I also have a cold, so, I cannot really say those pills are not quite working. We never know, and at any rate I will keep taking it unless the docs say otherwise.
This week I received another Hello Kitty doll. These dolls (they are wonderful, so perfect, so detailed) I buy them in a very cool website: JBox (or JList). They are based in Japan (part of it is based in America though) and sell all sorts of Japanese things: from snacks to multi-region DVD players and lots of Anime DVD's and manga. And Kitty-Chan! Needless to say I do love it...
My first doll was Kitty-Chan dressed as Fuji Musume, or the Wisteria Maiden, from a famous Kabuki play of the same title. Mark has posted a picture of her in his blog, and she looks too kawaii to be true! And this one, I found her in JBox some days after I received my Fuji Musume. Now her character is called Shizuka Gozen, or Lady Shizuka.
Lady Shizuka is a character of another kabuki play, Yoshitsune Senbonzakura - that means something like "Yoshitsune and the (Yoshino) Cherry Trees". She was the lover - or concubine - of the great warrior Yoshitsune, from the XIIth Century Japan, in the Heian Era, and originally a sacred dancer in a Shinto srine. She was renowned not only for her beauty and loveliness, but also for the power of her sacred, magical dance.
Herself and her lover were being persecuted by his envious half-brother, the Shogun at the time, Yoritomo. Well, the story is long and sad. She was pregnant of Yoshitsune's child, and arrested by Yoritomo's troops in Kyoto. She's been interrogated on the whereabouts of Yoshitsune but, of course, did not say a word. Knowing that she was pregnant, Yoritomo ordered that, in case the baby was a boy, it should be immediately killed. Any male descendant of Yoshitsune would mean a threat to his rule. And so it happened. When the baby was born, it was indeed a boy, and immediately snatched from her arms and killed in a deserted beach.
Before letting Shizuka go, Yoritomo was determined to see her perform one of her famous dances. She resisted, of course, but convinced (and fooled) by the Shogun's servants, went to a nearby shrine to perform a sacred dance, a supplication dance as per their suggestion. The Shogun was observing her, hiding behind a bamboo blind in the shrine. Everyone looking at her dance at that moment was bewitched, enchanted, mesmerised. She realised then she has been fooled and changed from a dance to a love song in honour of her beloved.
That enfuriated the Shogun, of course, but at the same time, it was undeniably beautiful, and he just let her go back to Kyoto and did not harm her at all. Arriving there though and still separated from her beloved, she cut off her long hair, completely shaved her head and decided to become a nun. Yoshitsune meantime, has been tracked down by Yoritomo's warriors and killed. It seems she died of grief one year after.
Well... Too sad, but most kabuki plays are like that. It seems Shizuka was only eighteen at the time. It also seems she is not a real character, but part of the world of legends. Yoshitsune, however, was a real warrior, as was the Shogun, Yoritomo.
Well, back to Kitty-Chan dressed as Shizuka Gozen: she wears kimono, a golden obi and red silky obijime, and also a juban (under-kimono). She graciously bears a tiara, or kanzashi pin in her head, decorated with delicate silver flowers. Finally, in her left hand she holds a ko-tsuzumi, which is a small hand-held drum used in kabuki and noh plays and dances. Have a look at her:
As for the display sign, I am not sure what it means, but I know the very first kanji at the top reads her name, Shizuka. If anyone can read the other two kanji, please let me know!