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5897Introduction: totally new to all of this

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  • Jedillore
    Sep 20, 2001
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      Konnichiwa -

      I'm a little bit shy, but I want to introduce myself. I have a lot of
      questions so I hope that's all right.

      My name is Emily. I'm from Seattle, but I just recently relocated to the
      Chicago area. I've had an interest in Japanese culture ever since I was a
      little girl. It's been such a theme in my life for so long in fact, that I
      sometimes wonder about past life experience. :-)

      I found this list while doing research on the samurai on the web. I had
      never considered historical reenactment as something I was interested so
      when the search engine listed the "reconstructing history" site, I almost
      passed it by. I'm glad I didn't. I was most impressed with the sincerity
      and dedication with which Fujiwara-hime pursued the recreation of a Heian
      noblewoman. My interest pique-ed, I looked for more sites and eventually
      stumbled upon this list.

      I've been lurking for several weeks now and I'm even more impressed than I
      was before. The level of scholarship and dedication here is just
      incredible. I'm quite blown away. What's really cool is that you're doing
      this in the SCA. I had some friends in the SCA about 10 years ago but I
      didn't join them because though the time frame was right, I wasn't
      interested in Europe, I was interested in the east. I guess I should have
      done a little more homework!

      So, I'd like to join in the fun. I love making costumes, reading history,
      and this would be a great opportunity to practice my Japanese as well as
      learn more about a culture that has been a constant fascination for me. I'm
      not too familiar with the SCA though and so I have some questions that
      weren't answered by the web site. I hope you don't mind my asking them
      here.

      First, from what I've read here, it appears as though people doing Japanese
      reenactment are somewhat misunderstood in the SCA. Would it be totally
      inappropriate for me to attend my first SCA function in Japanese garb; would
      that immediately set me apart? Japanese is what I'm interested in, but I
      also don't want to rock the boat too totally. How does one introduce
      themselves, their persona, and interests, so to speak? I don't want to
      appear rude.

      I do have garb, but it's not totally period (though with some adjustments,
      it could be). I had some fun this summer taking the Folkwear happari and
      monpei patterns and creating a journeyman samurai costume like the ones worn
      in Kurosawa's Seven Samurai (did I mention I'm a raging Kurosawa fan?).
      That's too late for the SCA, but with a few changes it could be basic
      peasant clothing for earlier periods of Japanese history. Unfortunately it
      would be basic peasant clothing for a man.

      This leads to my second question. I get the impression that folks here are
      very dedicated to as exact a representation as possible while pursuing their
      particular cultural interests at the same time. I do Kendo and Iaido so one
      of my big interests is swords and the samurai. But women in Japan of that
      period didn't normally fight so I'm not sure how to work that into my
      character. My research doesn't answer this question, but I'm sure one of
      you might know more. How uncommon would it be for a spirited daughter of
      noble birth to occasionally break away from quiet court life and don a young
      man's clothes to fight or at least practice? I imagine it would be pretty
      unusual, but is it totally unheard of? Could I justify that kind of
      behavior in the SCA?

      I've read Samson and the Tale of Genji and I think I'd like to target the
      Heian period as a focus. Though the samurai of later periods are more
      interesting to me, I'm not all about fighting. I'm a Buddhist and I write
      haiku as well. A lot of wonderful stories and literature came out of the
      Heian period and it seemed to be a time when woman's literacy was at an all
      time high. (Once again, correct me if I'm wrong, you guys know way more
      about this than I do.)

      I'd like to make simple garb for a woman of this period. I saw the pattern
      on Fujiwara-hime's site, but I'm also wondering, since I have the Folkwear
      kimono pattern if that one could be adjusted to make a suitable kosode and
      overrobes? It would just be more convenient to use that since the seam
      allowances are all laid out and stuff. Would it just be adjusting the
      length and sleeve sizes or is there more to it?

      I've read this over and it is long. I don't sound so shy actually which is
      good, but I don't want to be too long winded. Thus I will close with a
      final question about names. I love the name Etsuko and would like to use it
      for my character. Even after reading Effingham-sensei's information on
      names, I am still a little confused by Japanese woman's names. If I were to
      create a name for myself with Etsuko in it, would I follow the standard
      Etsuko no <place name> or did it work differently for women? Would I also
      use a family name too such as Yamamoto? (I'm sorry if these questions are
      answered by the website, I'm having a really hard time understanding this
      for some reason.)

      Well, it is nice meeting you. In advance for your answers, domo arigato
      gozaimashite...

      Effingham-dono, I hope you don't mind that I called you sensei. You have
      much to teach.

      -emily-
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