Thursday, September 15, 2011

Diversion : Sidetracked by Ogres and Peonies

Bobby is a smart boy.  He comes and sits and lays down. 

But he won't do any of these things outside.  In fact, he largely ignores us entirely when we are outside.  That might be because he was trained in prison, I'm not sure how much outside time he had.  He's so distracted, you call him, you give him a tug on the leash: nothing.  He doesn't even turn his head.  I don't know how we'll reslove that, but I do know that he cannot be allowed to ignore us.  If he does, and  goes charging around freely, he could run into the street and be hit by a car. 

So I'm looking into obedience training.  I was trying to do just that when I found this article about border collies used at Lunken airport ( ) to harass geese and endangered/protected wildlife until they leave the runway areas.  It reminded me of this other article, about falcons being used to keep pooing birds away from tennis events.  I like the idea of using ingenuity, finding a natural deterrent/non-killing solution to a nuisance problem.  The animals just go elsewhere.  Problem solved.  And it gets a hawk trainer or dogtrainer an extra paycheck.  Good on them. 

While I was at the inventorspot website I noticed one of the links was to an article (a really short one) called "Art of the Yakuza."   I can tell you that its true, the average person sees a tattoo in Japan and they think mafia.  Mine was dismissed quickly, because tattoos on foreigners are "for fashion."  One of my friends a former member of the Japanese Self Defense Force's naval branch had one.  I suppose he could have secretly been yakuza but... he was a hairdresser... I just can't see it. 

[Suikoden Heroes by Horimatsu]  These are really something. 
His photos are not posted here because he asks nicely on his website that people respect his ownership of his work. 

I've heard it said that some Samurai tattooed themselves so if their corpses were looted or their heads removed, their bodies could still be identified.  Don't know how true that is.  Three centuries ago, Japanese firefighters wore tattoos for much the same reason.  Or because they wanted to look like badasses.  Whichever.  And prostitutes had them.  And criminals were branded with them.  And then they were outlawed until 1945 I think.  Not that they disappeared, because foreign folks were allowed to get them while the ban was enforced (from quite an interesting essay by Mieko Yamada). 

Anyway, it was a slow day at work, so I surfed around for some Japanese tattoos.  I found this fascinating look at the life of a famous oldschool tattoo artist dubbed Horihide (from Selvedge Yard),  (and there's a companion piece with somewhat different text and different pictures here). 

I've now wasted an absurd amount of time surfing for information and photos of Japanese tattoos.  It was time consuming because a google image search shows you photos, and you'll say, "hey, that's neat," and you click on it, and the link takes you to some unsavory websites that you didn't intend on visiting.  In one search for Japanese peony tattoo, I clicked on a photo and it took me to a website for a casketmaker.  I tried to repeat this and got a totally different site the second time I clicked.

It's not a particular love of tattoos, more a love of Japanese traditional arts.  Textile dying and embroidery, ink paintings, ceramics, etc.  If I had had money while I lived over there, I'd have been in trouble!  Depictions of maple leaves, peonies, phoenix, carp, the rabbit in the moon, etc. etc.  Well, I enjoyed my quiet day at work.

And you can enjoy my time-intensive search too!  There's a linkbom for Japanese tattoos and art on the bottom of this posting on this blog that is not about Japan or tattoos.  ha.  weird.

I'm not sorry. 

South Waterfront Art & Design (used w/out permission)

In the process of my tattoo searching, I found a few sumie links, like this one, for sumie master Jan Zaremba.  His work really impresses me.  His landscape scrollwork is epic. 

   It got me to thinking.  I haven't picked up a brush for awhile.  It's hard to teach yourself, but I got some books and tried to.  With results that were mediocre.  I have wanted to find a Sumie teacher.  Sumie is black ink painting.  Surfing around the internet inspired me to sign up for a one-time Sumie workshop at the Art Academy of Cincinnati.  Alas, my enthusiasm was dashed when I was told the workshop had been cancelled.  But its ok.  I think this weekend I'll dust off the old brushes and rice paper and spend some time with my black inks and painting books. 

Hokusai's Philosopher

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