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Composing and Designing a Japanese SCA Scroll

The Queen’s Prize Tournament for Calontir was this past weekend, and my entry was the process behind how I did the Calon Cross scroll for Saito Takauji. Here is a link to the documentation: Composing and Designing a Japanese SCA Scroll.

Award Scroll for Saito Takauji

It was an exciting and emotional day. One of my friends, Giraude Benet, was asked to join the Order of the Laurel. Another friend, Ysabel de la Oya, won the Queen’s Prize, and a third friend was awarded the Golden Calon Swan (an AOA-level arts award) that was from another design of mine. I got very good feedback on my entry, and got to see several other fascinating entries as well.

Photo credit: Vilhelm Lich (Edward Hauschild)

Admin Note

I beg pardon for any new people who got hammered with posts this week. My previous blog was on Livejournal, but because it was set up as a community, it would not import directly into WordPress, so I was manually cut-and-pasting my old entries. I am now caught up and so the pace will slow down!

At some point, when I have time or insomnia, I’ll go back and make note of the dates of the original LJ posts. Right now, though, I’m going to play with the layout and appearance–what I originally set up was very bare-bones.

I have noticed some likes and follows. Thank you, and I will take a look at your blogs as well.

小鳥の歌 27

Kinsukuroi
Knit up with glistening gold
My heart is mended
Yet still so very fragile
Broken with a breath of air

Link: Falling apart at the seams to Knit up with glistening gold. Kinsukuroi 金繕い (also known as kintsugi 金継ぎ) is a process where broken ceramics are mended by using gold as a binder. There is no attempt to hide the fact that the ceramic piece was broken, but instead, the imperfection is recognized and celebrated.

小鳥の歌 23-26

Eternity waits
It is unkindly patient
And will not be rushed
But we who are mortal strain
To constrain every minute

A trap, a rope to
Tie me with, I will not lose
My freedom this way
Entice me with your smiles
Enfold me in your warm arms

Arm for a pillow
I gaze at your sleeping face
Noble in repose
Alas, I cannot stay long
The night passes in patches

Passing in patches
The night is stitched up roughly
Like a well-worn quilt
Falling apart at the seams
Barely holding together

Links: 23 “each breath an eternity” to “eternity waits”
24 “Constrain” to “a trap, a rope to tie me with”
25 “enfold me in your warm arms” to “arm for a pillow”
26 “Passing in patches” to “stitched up roughly”

小鳥の歌 21

A storm-fallen tree
Leaves in disarray my heart
Broken asunder
A torrential deluge falls
Upon the living and the dead

Notes: Link Hurricane to fallen tree. The last line is a twist on the last line of “The Dead” by James Joyce: “His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.” That sentence has haunted me since I first read the story in high school.

Also note rare English kakekotoba (pivot word) in the 2nd line (my heart) that actually works like it might in Japanese, changing the meaning depending on whether you attach it to the words before or after.

Yes, I’m really upset about my dead tree.

小鳥の歌 7 and 8

Darkness surrounding
My senses as I reel
Closing around me
Morpheus, why hasten you
Here, so far from your kingdom?

Make haste, make haste, there
Is no more time for dreaming
Time creeps upon you
Yoshitsune descending
On heedless Dannoura

Notes:

Links: Midnight vigil to Darkness surrounding, why hasten you to make haste

First poem actually describes a fainting spell, can also mean depression. Morpheus is the Lord of Dreams.

Second poem notes there is not time for dreaming. I am trying to finish a project and am (as usual) running late. Yoshitsune descending upon Dannoura refers to the Battle of Dan no Ura, the final battle of the Genpei War (between the Minamoto and Taira clans, April 25th, 1185). Although mostly a sea battle, the land forces of the Taira were on a beach at Dan no Ura (which literally means “beach platform), when Minamoto no Yoshitsune came down upon them with his forces, riding down a very steep cliffside in a sneak attack.

小鳥の歌 3

Time interrupted
The earth danced beneath my feet
Yet my heart stood still
Be content, the times lament
The world turned upside down

Notes:

This morning, an earthquake of 5.6 on the Richter scale hit Pawnee, OK. It was felt throughout seven states, and quite strongly here, shaking our house for about a minute. It was my first earthquake and I wasn’t sure what to think about it (neither was my cat, Ryoko, who was sitting nearby!).

Link to the previous verse: one moment, much like another–my heart stood still

“Be content, the times lament” and “the world turned upside down” are from the 17th century song The World Turned Upside Down, which refers to the banning of certain Christmas traditions during the English Civil War.

And yes, this is the song Lin Manuel-Miranda refers to in the song “Yorktown” from Hamilton the Musical, and I’ll be truthful, I would not have known about the other without his reference.

The phrase “the World Turned Upside Down” actually dates back to the Book of Acts 17:6, King James Version.

I especially liked the “Be content, the times lament” which speak as clearly now as when the words were written in 1646. It was a common for Japanese poems to refer to entire phrases from ancient tanka, knowing that the meaning would be understood. The practice was called makurakatoba. It was understood that cultured people would catch the earlier reference. Sometimes these makurakatob

Admin Note

For any new readers, please forgive all these posts. I am moving this information over from Livejournal, but since it was set up as a community and not a journal, WordPress will not import my entries. So I will be posting a lot over the next few days. ごめんなさい。

小鳥の歌 1

平成二十八年九月一日
A sparrow singing
Amidst the cicadas’ cries
Welcoming twilight
Winds in the east, mist rising
Future mirroring the past

Notes:
Birdsong will be a continued theme
Cicadas’ cries mark the end of summer and the beginning of autumn
They are loudest at twilight, but also, they sing as they die, as the summer dies
The last two lines call back to “Winds in the East” from Mary Poppins (lyrics by Robert and Richard Sherman)

“Winds in the east, mist comin’ in
Like somethin’ is brewin’, about to begin.
Can’t put me finger on what lies in store,
But I feel what’s to happen all happened before.”