samurai garb


Soma Nomaoi, Minamisoma City

The Soma Nomaoi festival boasts over a thousand years of history with more than 500 mounted horse riders in traditional samurai garb.

This makes it one of the oldest festivals in Japan, and one of the largest equestrian festivals in the world.

Held on the last days of July, the first day has the traditional opening ceremony, as well as small horse races, and dance performances and food stalls in the evening.

The main events are held on the second day, in a large field. There are horse races along a track of 1,200m and a flag catching competition where flags are shot into the air by cannons and the riders fight to catch them for a prize.

The last day features Nomakake, traditional horse catching, which is the only event from the original military training for samurai that the festival is derived from. Three horses run around a paddock in front of the main shrine while a select group of men try to capture them with their bare hands and present them to the shrine as a gift, in return for a blessing.

Since the earthquake and tsunami in 2011, this is the second year where all three districts of the area are represented in the festivities. Prior to this, two of the three shrines that represent the areas were under repair and therefore unable to participate.

If you ever have time to visit, it’s an amazing and unique experience!

Suou and Sudou

It’s interesting that both names are written totally differently.


SU: 周 circumference/circuit/lap

In Chinese 周 is a surname written as Zhou and it is also used for the Zhou dynasty in both Japanese and Chinese.

OU: 防: to defend , to protect, to guard against, to prevent, to ward off

TATSU: 達 , accomplished/reach/arrive/attain; it is a plural marker for example in 子供達 kodomo-tachi (children)

YA: 哉 (question particle) how/what/alas/ (indicates wonder)
哉 kana is an emphasis; usually can be found at a poem’s (mostly Haiku) end which indicates wonder and which belongs to the Kireji

Tatsuya’s surname is written like Suou from Suou no kuni 周防国 (Suou country) and since it also sounds like suo a samurai garb Nyarly’s samurai plot works quite well in EP. Tatsuya’s surname also gives him the image of a protector (of Sumaru and Maya for example and that he tries to prevent a catastrophe from happening).

His given name is related to achievements which fits Tatsuya’s sun arcana which is reversed however since he failed in IS. The question particle in his name apparently questions his achievements. In my opinion Tatsuya is only starting to become more mature during EP which is why his arcana becomes more and more normal.

Now to Sudou:

SU: 須
is related to hair (whiskers or beard, mustache), can also mean: ought, must, have to, necessary

DOU: 藤
most often used for wisteria, can also be used for rattan, cane or creeper plant

dragon, imperial or Naga from Hinduism

YA: 也
to be
As a particle it’s an affirmation. Used when being at a location or for a sum of money (for describing the exact sum) as well.

Wisteria are hardy and fast-growing. They thrive in full sun and can be very strong and are also ornamental plants in Japan.

The Tatsu in Sudou’s name is written the same as in the name of his father Sudou Tatsuzou 須藤蔵. It’s not uncommon that children share characters in their names with their parents. The dragon/imperial part might hint that Sudou’s dad is a politician.

So both Tatsuyas are written completely differently which proves that it’s all just the rumors that connect them.

One of the kids in Seven Sisters mentions that Tatsuya’s name sounds similar to the one of the arsonist (Sudou).

Then we have Joker/Jun rebuilding the Masked Circle:

Tatsuya associated with fire: Suou Tatsuya (lighter and Vulcanus, a Leo) and Sudou (Reverse Vulcanus, arsonist, King Leo).
The musician: Eikichi and Ginji
The oldest team member who is a woman: Maya and Junko
The high school girl: Lisa and Anna


Tatsuya associated with fire: Suou Tatsuya (lighter and Vulcanus, a Leo) and Sudou (Reverse Vulcanus, arsonist, King Leo).
The Taurus: Lisa Ginko Silverman (Taurus, uses Eros) and Ginji (Prince Taurus, uses Reverse Eros)
The Aquarius: Jun and Junko (mother and son)
The Scorpio: Eikichi and Anna (Lady Scorpio). Eikichi and Yoshizaka also are written the same just reversed: EIKICHI 栄吉 and YOSHIZAKA 吉栄

To make it short:
Just like Maya Amano and Maya Okamura; both Tatsuyas have been connected via rumors for merely sounding similar. Though in Sudou’s case he did influence Tatsuya since he influenced Tatsuya’s family life and is responsible for the Araya shrine incident and what happened to Shiori’s brother on the other side.
However the mess once again started with Nyarly since he used Sudou’s nervousness due to his father and made him hear voices which made him lose it when his father like figure Kashihara who was the only one willing to listen to him died in IS.
The Kashihara, Sudou and Okamura trio is similar to a chain reaction planned by Nyarly in my opinion and the name similarities helped a lot.

Japonism Concert Report (2015.11.28)

I was able to go to my first Arashi concert in Japan on Saturday, November 28, 2015, so I thought would share my experience and write up a concert report (as I did with 10sai and Blast in Hawaii!). Note that this is what I can recall from the concert and what was memorable to me so I apologize if leave anything out (and if there any spelling/grammar errors, I apologize as I wrote this on my phone instead of the usual computer).

The concert on November 28 was at Kyocera Dome in Osaka. I was able to go because my friend in Osaka is a fan club member and she hit for tickets! It started at 6 PM and we were rushing to get there on time but we got there with ten minutes to spare! We were in the upper section on the left side of the stage. We were afraid that we couldn’t see a thing in the seats we were given cause we were way off to the side but we could actually see a lot! The big screen was right next to us so we had to turn to the right every time to look at the screen but there were smaller screens placed around the dome. The main stage was hard to see but they were only there for a few songs so when they moved around the dome, we could see them clearly.
One thing we had to do before the show started was to activate our penlight on our seat. It was hard to understand but the lady behind us was kind enough to help us and said that we had to press the on switch and button below it at the same time next to the sensor on our seat. Then, the light would flash white and turn pink, so then we know it’s activated.

The opening started off with a banner that dropped down on the main stage that read “Japonism.” The screens then showed an anime opening with the guys animated. They were looking down at a city and then a sword appeared. Each guy was shown in some sort of scenery that is very “Japanese.” The background colors of the scenery matched the member’s colors (i.e. Sho in a temple surrounded by red maple trees, Aiba in a green bamboo forest, Jun looking down upon a town where all of the roofs are purple, etc.) Each member also had two characters- one is dressed up in traditional Japanese garb (i.e. samurai) while the other is dressed in modern clothing. After the opening ends, the banner drops down and the guys pop up on the main stage and start with the first song, “Sakura.”

I’ll just write down the set list and if I can recall anything, I’ll write it down next to the song:

-Wild at Heart (started moving down the main stage to the moving stages)
-Troublemaker (from the moving stages, they moved to the back stage)
-Ao Zora no shita, kimi no tonari (at the start of this song, our penlights started flashing white and then it synchronized with the song! It was so cool!!! The whole dome was in sync with the song and it ended with the whole dome lit with blue lights, representing the “Ao Zora (blue sky)”
Their usual greetings but our penlights automatically changed colors to match the color of the member who greeting us! Again, SO COOL

-Make a Wish (moved back to the main stage)
-MUSIC (Nino solo! This was one of my favorite solos of the night! Nino started tap dancing with a light stick (a cane that glowed), then the sound of his dancing changed to more of a video game like sound (reminded me of Mario) each time he is feet touched the ground, then it turned to a squeaky shoe kind of sound. Then, he sang his solo. During the instrumental part, he danced on the center stage (which is a square) and on the screen, you could see him from above, dancing and the graphics made it look like a dance dance revolution game! When he started singing again (during the “Music” part), he looked up at the camera and gave a wink while pointing the light stick at it. After his performance, he walked of the square but the noise accompanying his walking was the squeaky shoe sound. Such a cute solo!)
-Don’t You Love Me (MatsuJun solo! It started off with a video on the screen. MatsuJun is running from someone. Then, we see him lying down on a couch on the stage. He uses the main stage for his solo. There are a lot of acrobatics and during the instrumental part, he starts fighting the “bad guys” and running away, climbing up the stage. He lands up back on the couch. It was an interesting concept but I had no idea what was going on lol)
-In the Room (everyone is back on the main stage and sitting on chairs using Matsujun’s couch to fit in with the song. It reminded me of Face Down PV with the red background and chairs).
-HappinessI couldn’t stop smiling as this is one of my favorite Arashi songs! They got on the floats and started going around the dome. Sho waved at our section!!!)
-Hadashi no Mirai (another one of my favorites!)
-GUTS (the other float came by our section! I believe, MatsuJun and Aiba waved at our section this time!!)
-Ai so Sakebe(all five are on the center stage dancing with a multi-colored heart background and it was just awesome since I love this song so much!!)

Here’s what I can remember during the MC
-Sho commenting on how pumped up Aiba was during the concert since when they were dancing during Troublemaker, Aiba was next to him and was like, “WOOOO!!” During Ai wo Sakebe, he made the same noise “WOOOO!!” I love how Aiba was so excited!

-Sho said there are quite a few male fans in the crowd as it was a Saturday so the fathers taking their kids or the boyfriends taking their girlfriends, etc. so they conducted an experiment to see how many guys are in the audience by having only males shout out “Satoshi, Omedetou!!” since it was Ohno’s birthday two days before. Ohno chose what they got to say and wanted them to call him Satoshi instead of Ohno. Then, all of the female fans got to say “Oh-chan, otanjoubi omedetou!!” They commented that not everyone gets to have thousands of people shout out happy birthday to them so Ohno was happy.

-MatsuJun always says he will make the how many thousands of people in the dome happy so they commented on how if a fan came up to him in public, if Jun would make them happy there too. So Aiba enacted a scene where MatsuJun was walking down the street and Aiba was the fan.
Aiba: Ah, Excuse me!
Jun: Yeah?
Aiba: Are you Matsumoto Jun?
Jun: No, I’m not him.

Then, Ohno and Aiba tried the scene again.
Aiba: you’re Matsumoto Jun?
Jun: Yeah…
Ohno: do the thing you always do…
Jun: what?
Aiba: like, yeaaahh!!
Jun: yeah?
Ohno and Aiba: yeaaah!!
Jun: huh?
Aiba (suddenly turns angry): why aren’t you doing it?

It was pretty funny but again, I apologize for any mistakes as I can’t remember who said what perfectly.

-Then, they went back to the main stage and Jun went to go change. The rest of them did rock, paper, scissors and Ohno and Aiba won. They let Sho and Nino go backstage first. Sho asked if they were okay. Aiba asked Ohno if he had any projects to plug. Ohno said no. Aiba didn’t have anything either but he said that Nino had three projects coming up and announced them. He did an impression of Nino from one of the movies he has coming up (I’m not sure which one) but Ohno didn’t see it so he didn’t know what Aiba was talking about when he did the impression.
-Aiba told a riddle that I didn’t quite understand at first. He asked where the dog, Hachiko, came from? Ohno didn’t understand. He explained it was a direction and later told Ohno the answer was west as in nishi hachi (2x4 = 8; 2 = ni, 4 = shi, hachi = 8).
-Ohno told a riddle next. He asked what is a detective’s favorite food? He gave five choices: Sukiyaki, Yakitori, Sushi, Shabu Shabu, and Onigiri. Nino came back on stage saying Shabu Shabu. Sho said Sushi. Aiba said Sukiyaki but had Ohno repeat the choices. Ohno repeated the original five but then also added pumpkin. The answer was Sushi because “suiri.” Suiri means reasoning or mystery genre. It can also be a pun as su is vinegar in Japanese and iri is short for enter or contain so sushi has vinegar in it therefore it’s suiri. I did not get this at first so my friend had to explain it to me afterwards haha.
-Ohno and Aiba went to go change so Nino and Sho were talking on stage. I don’t remember what they said but I remember they were talking and MatsuJun was sitting on the stairs behind them. He chimed into their conversation and Sho and Nino were both shocked that he was there so Jun was like, “You guys didn’t know I was here?” Lol
-MC Finished-

Nihon Yoi Toko Maka Fushigi
-Kimi e no Omoi
-Rolling Days (Sho solo! He started on the main stage playing a drum. The juniors played drums as he sang. They all came to the center stage and Sho played his drum again with all of the juniors)
-Mr. Funk (Aiba solo! He came from our side so we saw him up close as he was hanging from a balloon that was covered in multi colored stars. Since he was high up, he was pretty close! He moved to the center stage and came down from the ballon. Towards the ending of the song, he changed shirts and rolled up his pants and powdered his feet as he was going to climb up the cloth rope that was hanging from the balloon. His new shirt was a white t-shirt that said “Mr. Funk.” He climbed up the rope with ease and hung down from it after the end of his song. Another one of my favorite solos!)
-FUNKY (how does everyone learn this dance so quickly?! I couldn’t do it but I tried haha. I was looking at the screen, following the tutorial of the dance that until midway into the song, I look to my left and Sho is right there on a rising stage! I didn’t notice he was there since I was concentrating on the dance haha!)
-Bolero (the rising stages came back down and they went back to the main stage)
-Akatsuki (Ohno solo! He started off wearing a traditional Kimono with a devil mask. He kept changing masks and kimonos so it was almost like a magic show. This went on for about 10-15 minutes before he performed the song. It was pretty cool and the only solo that remotely fit with the theme of “Japan” for Japonism)
-Japonesque (this is one of my favorite songs from the album! They wore multi-colored kimonos. The lights turned white and red, representing the Japanese flag. Fitting with the Japan theme, the beginning of the song featured shamisen and taiko drums)
-Kokoro no Sora
-Sunrise Nippon (Nino waved at our section on the float!)
-Oh Yeah! (FAVORITE SONG! Nino was on the rising stage near our section and he waved a lot at us!)
-Believe (the lights were so cool during this song!!! They were flashing blue and yellow in sync with the song! But it would have definitely caused some seizures cause the light changes were rapid! They moved to the back stage)

-Ending Remarks-
Each member of the group said their thank you’s. The only one I can remember is Aiba’s where he said that he was so happy to see everyone’s smiles and that everyone did the Funky dance really well that he was impressed. He said that we did the dance better than him haha.
The lights didn’t change during each person’s thank you’s, but everyone was changing the lights on their own to match the person speaking.
-last song: Bokura ga Tsunaide Iku (they walked back to the main stage and said their goodbyes after the song. The song ended with each section with the penlights colored with a member’s color. We were red!)

After they left, everyone kept shouting “Arashi! Arashi! Arashi!” for an encore. I was tired, so I sat down during the shouting for an encore haha

-Yume ni Kakeru (They came back in the Japonism tour shirts and went back on the floats)
-Love so sweet (so glad they performed this song!! The next float passed by our section and all of them went to the main stage. I remember Ohno hugging Jun with his back facing him before they got off the float)
-A.RA.SHI (of course, they ended with the standard:) we all sang at the end with Ohno^^).

They introduced the juniors and the band. Then, ended with their usual “what’s our name?” And everyone shouts “ARASHI!!” Then, the silver tape streamers shoot out and float down. Of course, we were too far up that we didn’t get any:(Then, they exited the stage.
People were shouting ARASHI! but it was clearly the end of the concert so we just left.

I’m so happy that Japonism was my first Arashi con in Japan as the theme speaks for itself. I loved how they input Japanese aspects into the concert such as the use of traditional Japanese instruments, fashion, etc. It was an amazing concert that I will never forget! ありがとう、嵐♡

Thank you for reading!!!

Failed Shinigami [Closed with purple-eyed-maidens]

Joe was on another deployment against Covenant.  It was a solo op again, and it was deemed highly dangerous due to the presence of multiple Covenant vehicles.  This time, Joe was going in with his Chozo Power Suit as a result.

As Joe was making his way to the target area, he came across what looked like a battle that was already over.  There were several corpses lying around, and the ruins of Promethean Crawlers.  Joe decided to get a closer look at these corpses.  They wore a black samurai garb and carried swords.  "Just like Rukia…“ Joe muttered.

Joe decided to analyze the battlefield.  It looked like these Shinigami walked right into an ambush.  Judging by the pattern of their wounds, and the arrangement of the bodies, the Shinigami were surrounded on all sides and shot from virtually every angle at once.

There had to have been Knights present on this battlefield, but he didn’t see anything that indicated a single Knight corpse.  No out-of-place weapons with no bodies nearby.  It seemed like these Shinigami didn’t land a single casualty on the Knights, but they did do a number on the Crawlers.

Joe sensed something nearby him.  After that mission with Rukia, he had managed to gain a crude ability to detect spirits.  He could only get a vague direction that they’re in, such as left, right, forward, or behind him, but he had fine-tuned his armor’s sensors to be able to pick up spirits.  He turned and pointed his arm cannon in the direction of the spirit…and found Rukia.

"Oh…Rukia,” Joe said, lowering his Arm Cannon.  "Fancy meeting you here.  You here for these Shinigami bodies or something?“

Of Spirits and Monsters [Starter with purple-eyed-maidens]

Of all the missions Joe was involving himself with now, this one was gonna end up the strangest of them.  Joe was being sent in to eliminate a Covenant base and kill any Alpha Bravo that moved.  It sounded simple, of course, but Joe knew these types of missions never were.

Joe had grabbed himself his Lightrifle, his custom Railgun, some Plasma Grenades, and a demolition charge intended to explode the Covenant base.  The start of the mission was going by well enough, but then Joe wound up running into something that he had never seen before.

He spotted some large, black monster with a skull mask.  None of the Covenant had seemed to pay it any mind, so Joe had to assume that this was a new Covenant ally…but it didn’t look Covenant in the slightest…oh, wait, the thing was now eating the Covenant.  Well, there goes that theory.

Joe was so distracted by that creature that he only barely spotted a young, teenage-looking woman with black hair in a black samurai garb with an old katana apparently approaching the beast.  What in God’s name was she trying to accomplish with that old sword? Was she intending to kill that thing with a metal sword? That thing looked like it’d require at least Joe’s Railgun to take out.

Focus, Joe, focus! He needed some way to get rid of this beast before that girl wound up getting herself killed.  First things first, get the girl to safety.  Activating the Sprint Module in his armor, Joe quickly dashed up to Rukia, intending to grab her and move her to safety, and this was quite obvious in his body movement.  She had a bit to react before Joe would get close enough to grab her.  Best move before Joe rammed into her.