First Week In Japan

Torii (entrance to shrine)

I have spent my first week in Japan and it has been filled with new adventures — learning how to master the train system, dancing with Natsu Nakajima, visiting musems, Shinto shrines and buddhist temples. I am enjoying a great deal of “ma,” a Japanese word that means both space and time. What a pleasure to have the leisure to dance, walk, read, write, eat or sleep at my convenience. Thank you NC Arts Council for this luxury.  I am learning to enjoy being lost or confused, to just wander and to not understand.

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Arrival in Japan

I finally arrived in Japan after a 6-hour flight delay due to volcanic eruptions in Russia and Japan.  After a 2-hour train ride,  I arrived at my hotel in Yokohama. My room is very little and cute; I feel like a giant. The bathroom and kitchen are right across the hall and everything is clean and neat. I have internet in my room for free, so since I have lots of time on my hands, I will be able to keep up with email and ashevillebutoh posts. Tonight I will take a workshop with Yoshito Ohno here in Yokohama, if I can find the studio. On Monday I will take a workshop with Natsu Nakajima in Tokyo. I am most excited about these classes and will share more later.

Preparations for Travel

I’ve got my new computer ordered and my packing is almost complete. I am trying to take as little as possible because I have to schlep it all.  Every day I learn something new about Japan or butoh. I am making friends on the internet as I research housing, workshops and travel I look forward to meeting them when I arrive.


publicity photo for "out there out here"
publicity photo for "out there out here"

Julie in Japan

I just received the 2008-09 NC Choreography Fellowship and will be going to Japan June 16 – September 15 to study butoh. At the present I am arranging housing.  I am planning to stay in Yokohama near Kazuo Ohno’s studio where I will be studying 3 days a week.  I have also been in touch with  Akaji Maru (director of Dairakudakan) and Semimaru (director of Sankai Juku) and plan to take their workshops in August.  Natsu Nakajima worked with Hijikata during the early years of butoh and is still an active force in the world of international butoh. I  have connected with her and arranged to study in Tokyo.

I am so excited and a little nervous about my impending visit to Japan. I know it will be a time of personal growth for me as an artist. Though I have been studying Japanese, the language is quite difficult; I am an old dog and it is hard to learn a new trick.