Miyake!  Simplicity in Design, More than Fashion, Remarkable Art. 

Miyake!  Simplicity in Design, More than Fashion, Remarkable Art. 

Desperately trying to find some needed cash, see being poor and the hustle, I stumble upon an online article about a retrospect of Issey Miyake. Issey Miyake is one of the quintessential Japanese dssigners that came to define the fashion industry in the 1980’s and beyond. He was known for his unisex simplistic designs which transcend fashion, becoming instant design classics. 

 

Issey Miyake

 

I am amazed and astounded that vintage Miyake is selling for thousands. I pull out a thick black cotton coat from my closet which is classic Miyake, purchased in 1995 in a consignment store in Seattle for less than one hundred dollars it is now a wise investment. The coat is a coarse black cotton weave sewn on the bias with unfinished frayed edges. When splayed out it is square in shape composed of two triangles of fabric. It is breathtaking once on. It’s weight and asymmetrical hang with low triangular shapes weighing down the front of the garment. It’s lines are completely simple with the secret being in the off center area that it is put on, not like the hole in,the middle of a poncho symmetry one normally finds in such a garment. It is unisex and one size indicative of early Miyake and other  Japanese designers of the period such as Commes des Garçons and Yojhi Yamamoto. The top of the coat. Has three buttons which link a piece of fabric into a hood when buttoned. One can roll the hood or unbutton it for a wide collar or tweak it in various stages between for a bit of both should one desire. 

 

Black Miyake Coat , hood down

 
I search for a similar coat for sale online and only find a photo. Other used Vintage Miyake coats are selling for upwards of one thousand dollars but none have the hang or lines that this particular design have. I find them either more tailored or less structure in line and drape. Definitely not as versatile in appearance or shape. In comparing the others just lie on the models while this style draws the eye to the structure and design to the geometry of the garment not the model.

I am taken back to my own sojourns to Tokyo during 1986, when my father, on foreign assignment with a major technology firm did a two year stint in their Asian headquarters. Frequenting Harajuku in the Omotosande area, where the Shinjuku and Shibiya subway lines intersect on Sundays I would see many coats like this as well as other styles similar from Rei Kawakubo of Commes des Garçons, Yohji Yamamoto, Kenzo Abe, or the multitude of rising star Japanese designers that were thrust into the fashion world that year. 

 

Harajuku Kids

Shopping the trendy retail outlets of the district one could find less known designers? Strolling alongside the streets there are squares of stalls selling vintage Levis, Hawaiian shirts, and other classics, ample distraction from the primary activity, people watching. The main thoroughfare around Yoyogi Park, closed to traffic, filed with a multitude of Japanese youth sporting  mohawks, pompidours,  pigtails,  bouffants, wigs, or outlandish hats in every color gather with their respective cliques on parade and public display. The atmosphere is   festive, non-traditional, and always fun in the frivolity of it all. Often found with a boom box blaring, the Harajuku kids’ music of choice whether it be Elvis, the Sex Pistols, or a more current (for the time) 80’s dance favorite leaves tradition behind forget the shamisen or flute.  The youth congregate in circles along the wide boulevard representing their adopted look to a tee.
While budget and economics prevented many of these trendy outlandish mismatched Harajuku youth from sporting the latest in designer fashions, the established ready-to-wear Japanese fashion industry was well represented amongst the  more mature spectators and somewhat more subdued cafe society which left the outdoor cafes and seating areas along the boulevard swelled beyond capacity. An acquaintence of mine commented that this form of expression in addition to getting inebriated while clubbing was her generations way of feeling free, and ultimately expressing their individuality in a culture that at the time offered little way to do so.

  

Gweyn Stefani , designer of The Harajuku Girls Line


 It seemed as if the world had taken notice of this particular moment in time and rendered it indicative of the Japanese youth culture for decades to come. Rock Stars turned designers like Gwen Stefani even naming clothing lines after the vibrant youth culture contained within the few square kilometers weekly. The designers of the time and present day were no doubt inspired by the creativity expressed in the streets within the confines of the structured and ordered group culture pervasive throughout the history of Japanese culture. 

 

Runway Style Evocative of Miyake, by Chloe

 These bursts of vibrancy and brilliance so subtly woven into the design threads of the eighties designers and in part responsible for their tremendous embrace by the  world and runways of Europe’s fashion capitols. One only need to look  at the years following the Japanese designers successful debuts in these centers to see the influence on worldwide design which is evident even today. Designers like Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Betsy Johnson, John Galliano, Christian LaCroix, and John Paul Gaultier found tremendous roots and structure in these well constructed simple geometrical foundations. 

The Hunger Games – Panem Capitol Fashion

By accentuating with texture, color, pattern, accessories, the    young designers of the fashion industry gave the looks depth, fun, whimsy and bridged a gap towards the Harajuku look seen weekly. Garters, petticoats, frilly ruffles and bustles brought an element of  sweet confectionary coyness to the sometimes stark pieces that still appear in fashion and film today. One only need look at the aesthetic in such films as the Hunger Games series, or The Harry Potter films, to notice the staying power of the designers influence and its power in the garment industry as well as popular culture at large. 

 Modeling my black Miyake coat while giving  thought to this, all the while enjoying the garment gave me pause to think of the coat as sort of a matriarch of design, the wise crone cloistered over her cauldron, cloaked, stirring a simmering brew adding roots, barks, and herbs yielding brews of varying thickness, sweetness and hues to be dispensed to her progeny. The tonics for beauty, humor, romance, youth. Dyes for wardrobes as varied as the wearer. All worn and traced to her quiet, understated knowledge and subconscious grasp of foundations solid and sturdy. Her male counterpart a Merlin figure, a hermit figure imparting the same alchemical melange less simmered and more mercurial wearing the same elemental garment.

Twirling a few times the coat with its front triangular asymmetrical corners on each side magically lift and thrust around gently guiding the less weighted section of the backside giving lift. I conjure dervishes whirling into a trancelike state, skirts ballooning out like bulbous bell shaped vessels. As I move, even without  a twirl the garment moves to counter balance my own movement providing an almost pendulum like affect from the swing of the weighted front corners fluidly gliding with each stride. What the photographers and critics must have thought with the first glimpse of such synchronized movement in a runway show.

Now while searching such terms “Issey Miyake + vintage coat + resale value” my browser, I find a plethora of exhibits in both large and small, in public and private galleries lauding the designers, especially Miyake for their vision of simple geometrical unisex constructions that formed amazing garments to which there have been few other examples of since. Permanent exhibitions in museums from New York to London tout all things from the period by this vanguard of design Titans from clothing, to lighting, to such now ubiquitous furnishings such as the futon. All of it showcased in a minimal sparse monochromatic  environment now the norm in retail and advertising.  Designed to showcase the simplistic, sophisticated, quality of design, construction, and organic materials echoed in form, function, and aesthetic. Pieces from this place and period need no model, styling, props., or staging to emphasize  what obviously stand alone as classics in all areas of design. 

In awe of the coat which has held not only its pared down elegant characteristics after nearly 30 years in a closet, but retained its confounding beauty as well as value on sites such as Etsy, eBay, and 1stDibs commanding bids of thousands of dollars. This in an industry where most design pieces from the periodare doomed to be labelled out of style in a few short seasons. Remember the block print oversized day glow, Wham! Frankie says tees, trotted out as a novelty for a themed flashback fete. How about the 80’s shoulder pads in nearly every dress blouse or jacket, at best deemed retro  a generation later- or Members Only jackets. Other fashions of the period seen as an example of an individual designer’s body of work- Bob Mackie’s extravagant Academy Award gowns popularized by Cher. These pieces go far beyond the scope of the majority of fashion over a season or two past into the stratosphere of art, marking the birth of new avenues which the industry has explored and continues to embrace.

Few designers or periods render such treasures that when removed from the dry cleaner bag and inspected or put on, whether on dress form, model, or self, inspire awe, and admiration in new ways without the construct or thoughts of era, year, age, or  regret of decision to purchase. The  Little Black Dress by Coco Chanel, as well as the Chanel Suit , Levis 501’s, Converse HiTops, Keds, Brooks Brothers Oxford Shirts, all of these essential classics spawning decades of variations, subclassifcations, retail outlets, and even designers dedicated to their form  exclusively. Yet something in these Japanese designs nearly transcends these fashion staples. As awe inspiring on a hanger or laid out splayed on a flat surface one appreciates the simplistic form and minimal construction which almost have a life of their own ready to leap off the one dimensional plane with form to guide and give them essence. 

These designs are alive without model, albeit in a altogether unique appearance than that when worn. The Miyake, when flat appears to be a near perfect square, but lacking the congruency found in a poncho if laid in a similar fashion. It appears as if something lies under it waiting to grow thru, Jack’s magic beanstalk sprouting up. The paring down of the most basic of shapes, rudimentary fabrics often coarse lay woven, sewn without frills or extra stitching, basic slit pockets, simple geometrical shapes when pieced to pattern, each step elementary in its origin yielding something magical, complex, with a form entirely and stylistically new.  The genius of these handful of Japanese visionaries recognized by the likes of Steve Jobs, who wore Miyake with Levi’s nearly everyday while the Zen Guru of Apple, Annie Leibowitz- photographer artist extraordinaire to name a few. I bow deeply to thee as the unfinished fringe of the front lines rustle softly  over the hardwood floor. Arigato Gozaiamatshushita…. 

Arigato Gozaimashushita Miyake -san…

Are You An Anthropocentrist?

Thanks for the article. I immediately thought of reverse anthrocentric arguments, the human things we do that no other species does.

1. Humans Are the Only Species to drink the milk of another species without the need of an orphan.

2. Humans are the only species to continue drinking milk after being weaned.

3. Humans have caused the extinction and devolution of many species ; plant, animal, and insect by such things as clear cutting the rain forests, overfishing, air pollution. We have caused more ecological damage than any natural event or species.

4. Humans are the only animals that murder in cold blood not for food or protection.

Laura Grace Weldon

animal intelligence, anthropocentrism, Paradise, by Gillis d’Hondecoeter circa 1575

When I was growing up we were taught humans were at the top of every chart, far superior to all other living beings. Our textbooks, illustrated with stereotypical images of “cave men,” proved the assertion with a long list of what our species could do that others could not. The list was so smug that I was a bit embarrassed on behalf of my fellow homo sapiens. A skeptic even then, I thought the list was somewhat prejudicial. Worse, it didn’t acknowledge what feels obvious to young children, that we are all things and all things are us.

I don’t for a moment dismiss our many human accomplishments—among them language, science, the arts, and shared rules meant to advance mutual compassion. I simply mean to point out that we’re not better, we’re different.

Besides, what I was taught as a kid doesn’t really hold up. Here are…

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Ra-day

Ra-day

Today being Sunday and all I decided to blog about a project that I have started in various media forms, either print or film.  The project is in the planning stages; story boards, outlines, rough drafts of text and such. At many key junctures in the book, for example at a chapters ending, the reader would be given a key decision, regarding plotlines, character development, or even genre or tone. After making the choice the reader would then be coursed on that track,  another another branch at another section or chapter. the film version would do pretty much the same thing but in a more digital reality, avatar-sequel. This would enhance the media experience by yielding numerous alternative versions of the story.

One of the concepts dear to my heart and one of the most interesting time periods in anthropology, history, and Egyptology was during the Middle Kingdom – Memphite Age. For a brief period the  dynastic branch of the family closely associated with the Memphite age and identified by the title Amenhotep and  the title Tel el-Amarna. This time period had one key item that completely turned everything upside down in the Upper and Lower Nile.  A young unique pharaoh whose Father had left him an enormous sized treasury, giving him ample resources to fund the vision of internal change to the Egypt. This of course would be no easy task, being met with resistance.

Tiye, wife of Amenhotep III, hailed from other lands, and was from the same tribal and religious group as her Father, Joseph. Joseph had come into Egypt as a slave sold by his brothers and while in slavery  caught the attention of the court and members of the royal household. Eventually his knowledge in dream interpretation became what elevated him from slave to free man and one of Pharaohs most trusted advisors always at his side. He was able to see his brothers one more time and stayed in Egypt. It seems the Israelites were in slaved twice by the Egyptians. The  first time when Joseph’s jealous brothers wanted him out of the picture so their Dad would one day give one of them the precious blessing that was everything for the chosen son of a Bedouin tribal leader ( culturally).  The second on a much more greater scale, when Moses was forced  to choose between an Egyptian Pharaonic throne, or leading his true people from bondage.

After unceremoniously dumping him down a dry well shaft the brothers sold him to a trader. Joseph had the last laugh and was the patriarch for a more than a few members including Pharaohs in the Tel el-Amarna period. In the Valley of The Kings just near where the now famous workers huts are above the entrance to Tuthankamuns tomb was an extremely small tomb – for a pharaoh and the Valley whose inscription cartouche read “Father of the Pharoahs”. Mind you this tomb was not a Pharoah, so technically not allowed to be even dug in the sacred ground where Pharaohs made their final journeys to the next world via the Book of Thoth as guide through the underworld. To be buried there with such a placard would indicate an extremely important and well thought of individual. 
  
Joseph’s wife a Hebrew,  taught her daughter all the Hebrew traditions. Chosen fortunately as second wife of the Pharaoh Amenhotep IV, she continued worship of her God, Yahweh, in quiet privately in the palace. After giving Pharaoh his second  son and spare heir to the dynasty,  she was elevated to wife status amongst his concubine. Her son’s name was Amenhotep IV, later Akhenaton, and she like her mother, educated him in the ways of the one of true God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob. He was  educated in the polytheistic worship, cults of , and the  serious political maneuvering that  balanced the cults maintaining their stronghold on Egyptian society, worship, religion, art, and  ultimately the Pharaoh and royal family themselves. It was imperative the system stay together with the head priests of the God and Goddess cults, firmly in control.  Everyone who has experience with political science knows that control is the goal of most leadership everywhere. This was not an issue as Pharaoh already had an heir and the second in line was not expected to ascend to the throne. His spiritual  education was left to his mother, who resided in the palace concubine where she could school him without much notice from the priests and other males dominant in the Cults of the Gods. The heir apparent, Thutmosis was well indoctrinated and educated in the traditional  Cults by the priests, led by the powerful Cult of Amun.

 

Depiction of the Temple of Amun at Karnak

  

Ruins of the Temple of Amun at Karnak

 

Amenhotep III, the heretic’s father, saw his reign grow not only in wealth but vast expanses of territories for Egypt. As any leader knows construction projects, large ones not only give back to the populace, employ folks  but also leave a long lasting monument to those who financed them, leaving a legacy for all who see; until their destruction was possibly the result of Isis’  conservative ideology.Even today we still romanticize the great pyramids of Ramses, Korfu, and Cheops, although much of the original design and accoutrements are long gone. 

 

The

The ” Mummy” of Akhenaton , Tiye , his Mother

 The preserved bodies, found in these repositories, were called Mummies after the British occupation after Napoleon ceded the occupied lands in concessions after Waterloo. These valuable stores of DNA, pathogens, virii, bacteria, and examples of  medicinal techniques used by the unique technologically effective surgeons of the Ancient Egypt. These examples of well preserved, even the preservation methods merit study, human cadavers, with most major organ systems intact that are yielding DNA providing the opportunity to map the genome of this culture at multi time levels and socio structures from royals to merchants, to slaves. This provides innumerable insights to their diet, climate of the time, diseases, invaders, and how the society interacted with them as well as other humans and the world around them at large. 

Many of these mummies were chopped up to fuel trains or ground and added to mystical medicinal tonics, most likely to aid and enhance one’s libido or longevity. Probably not the first sexual ED aid but maybe one of the earliest.  Combine that with a multitude of stellae the Ancient Egyptians left for us, and one has perhaps what Freud could spend years analyzing. Sorry could not help but interject the obvious phallic references. Indeed Freud did author a book on the subject of Egyptian monotheism linking Akhenaton and Moses. 

 

Amenhotep III, father of Akhenaton

  

Amenhotep III, Father of Akhenaton

 Amenhotep III, had no such problems, the population was fed, working , and paid under his reign . One of his greatest achievements was the expansion of the Temple of Karnak. The cult of Amun had their main temple complex located in Memphis, the Eyptian Capitol. The cult of Amun, rivaled its close rival the Cult of Aten, or Aton. Amun was the God of darkness and night. Aton cult the sun god was parallels to the Hebrew God, and the  only God, the minds of the Jewish bedouin tribe of Abraham. Amun held the power with cleverly  structured, and maintained rivalries and an usurper always close at hand to encourage the vigilance and competition that kept the system Seemingly at odds with everyone in it. In the polytheistic tradition of Egypt, the Cult of Amon was the largest and most resource rich of the power with legions of  priests acolytes, artisans, scribes and followers dedicated  to the service of Amun. As the chief God they were the target of the lower Gods and cults in a competition for coin and service from both royal the family and upper classes of merchants and other not-cult members.

The cult of Amun had always had the largest of followings of any of the hundreds of Egyptian deities. Service to Amun and gifts to his cult were generally the duties and responsibilities of the members of the cults , priests, acolytes, scribes, artisans, and their who did reside in the temple complexes. The treasury and royal families directly supported these cults in proportion to their popularity this determines stays the hierarchy of deities. Amenhotep III, used his vast resources to fund major projects in the assimilation of new lands and cultures for trade, and infrastructure expansion and improvements in all areas of society.

 Amenhotep III, and his court did not disappoint the Temple of Amon, embarking on a major expansion and beautification of the Temple of Amun at Karnak. Much of the grand temple we see today and it’s layout can be directly traced back to this building process, although one more expansion after this period provided the columns that typify a visit to Karnak. Many of the staues including the famous seated Pharoahs and Gods are Linked to this expansion. It is with gratitude that we thank the foresight of The United Nations for recognizing the need to move these temp,es in the face of the Aswan High Dam project, or else all would have been lost. Unfortunately much of the  other treasures of information have been destroyed prior to their study or preservation.

 

Akhenaton , or Amenhotep IV, heretic Pharoah of Egypt

 
After Amenhotep III’s death of natural causes and his crowned prince Thutmose died before ascending the throne,  his second son, crowned Amenhotep the IV, took the reigns of power, this gave his mother even more power as Mother of the Pharaoh. As she was the daughter of Joseph and did not worship in the traditional polytheistic tradition of the whole of Egypt, but rather monotheistically in the way her Hebrew Father. She raised her son as a Hebrew , and while surely he had an education in Egyptian polytheism, he was at a point where one would have to have dominance over the other in a choice that he would have to make , influencing the entire civilization. 

 

Akhenaton Family Tree, one version

 As Egyptian Pharaohs were considered living Gods directly descended and anointed by the Gods, not unlike the direct lineage and dive in rights that many royal families  today lay claim to without the idea that they are actually descended from the Gods. This put Amenhotep in a difficult position, in many ways. Was he a living God, or simply the heir apparent to the sacred covenant the Israelites had with Yahweh? Was he the first of the greatest of Kings promise by Yahweh to Abraham in the covenant, or another in a long line of Pharaoh Gods? Would Yahweh become the God of the Egyptians or remain just the Hebrew God? What would happen to the thousands that enjoyed the power and wealth of being in the service to the multitude of other Gods and Goddesses in the polytheistic system in place? This was where the descendants of the royal family and court eventually ended up. This being the next highest level of social order in Egytian society and as a group the ones that controlled the wealth ultimately. Without their support one could never think of being anything but a slave in Egypt let alone a  Pharaoh.

 

Queen Nefertiti and her King Akhenaton

 The decision came swiftly and early into his reign. This decision would come to be the hallmark and paragraph in the history books while other Pharaohs lacked to get themselves in the historic record.  He, with some foresight, tried to incorporate both systems into his decision by naming the Sun God Ra as the supreme and only deity. Antecedents  in the Egyptian nomenclature system were changed from -Amun to -aton or -Amon, Aton in names depending upon their gender. Amenhotep IV after five years of reign took  the title Akhenaton indicating that his decision was made. His wife , however retained her name Nefertiti, with needing to change the antecedent that was not there. this would indicate a foreign woman not named in the Egyptian nomenclature of the day. She became one of the most recognized Pharoah Queens, not only for her place in history politically and socially with unprecented equality and rights for women just under Cleopatra of the Plotemy dynastic line hundreds of years later. In the art world, she is second to no woman in Egyptian art history in form, aesthetic, or realismwith her iconic bust still at The Berlin Museum being one of the most celebrated Egyptian pieces of art in the world. 
 

Akhenaton , as a sphinx.

 As known, the cult of Amun was the most power group even yielding more power than the royal family themselves. Being shut out by Akhenaton was an act of war. Without royal patronage or support in their coffers the cults struggled especially since policy was that Egyptians were to worship only one God Ra. Massive funds went into projects dedicated to Ra, freezing the other cults out of the “food chain” so to speak and feelings of resentment and bitterness were quick to develop.amongst the thousands of displaced priests, artists, scribes and     apprentices who set their sights in the worship and employ of one of the hundreds of other deities. 

Things did not bode well for Akhenaton and his court in Memphis. His progeny were all female and rumors of sterility or intersex offspring troubled his house. Were  these rumors actually true, simply propaganda from the multitude of disgruntled and displaced Egyptians after the conversion to monotheism, or as most of these types of situations based in some type of fact. To find the remains ( Nefetiti it is believed we have) of these children could indeed provide answers to this mystery. The other rumor that has gained some popularity today is the idea that a completely unique strand or piece of DNA emerged during this time period in the Egyptian royal line. Could this be explained by Akhenaton’s foreign roots? 

 

Akhenaton and co-regent, Smenhkare

 Supposing these presuppositions were true looking at other instances of interest multiple births or sterile offspring of one specific gender one can immediately draw the connection between donkey and horse, whose offspring result in sterile biologically female animals called mules. The intersex example is hard to exemplify as these births are extremely rare per capital in the number of births. One would expect a family would not have multiple intersex births within the same line. Could they idea that either Akhenaton or Nefertiti were not genetically the same ( ie donkey and horse) possibly not from the same line of genus or a factor which would yield sterility in all progeny.which It certain makes more sense logically than ” Aliens came down and mated with them” pre hypothesis held by many viewers of sensational television programs.

While these mysteries are beyond my current scope of experimentation to prove their validity or negate the hypothesis statistically speaking. One need only look at the visual arts of the brief period that clearly  illustrate that an abrupt, sudden change in artistic depiction on many levels occurred . While at first glance it may appear obvious  the motives  for such depictions, a change in style towards realism in art, upon examination, depictions of  the subject matter show that this change  is simply not the only reason and incongruent with many who claim this as an explanation for the sudden departure from established artistic norms.

 

Akhenaton’s realistic depiction

 The changes in visual arts were shaped in two extremely obvious ways, Akhnaton’s depiction as very tall gaunt, pot bellied, and lanky is unlike any Pharoah ever depicted, which his remains confirm as his physical stature.Eliminating the sole reason that either he demanded realism of his artists as ascertained previously, other explanations that have a reasonable amount of  credibility without major stumbling blocks to provide credible evidence would be that by being the catalyst for the unemployment of the thousands of members of the other  cults after switching to one God depicting him in this as protest they showed him in an unfavorable disrespectful manner not fit for a king or his family, ignoring the social barricade that their stature required their subjects to or that they desired to expose him in private moments this latter theory can be somewhat dismissed. 
 

Royal Family worshipping Aton.

 Akhenaton’s family is depicted with him in social scenes, tender affectionate moments rarely seen in other Egyptian art. His wife Nefetiti is shown alongside him as an equal doing such things as making offerings to the God Ra, and even competing in a chariot race against her husband. This was a radical departure for Egyptian art at the time.Something that if it did happen would never be depicted in court art work. Whether or not his reign typified a more close knit family life or just the depiction of it not represented in prior art from ancient Egypt. This art not only shows the status of women as equal, but a tender family life with the couple being affectionate openly to each other and with their children. Women are also performing activities formerly restricted to men in direct competition with men. Even today in the cultural confines of the Arabian Bedouin tribes of the areas there is no record of this level of intimacy and equality between families on a public levels. definite departure from these scenes not being 

   

 Led with the first depictions of the elongated skulls makes one wonder if such body modification was being practiced in Ancient Egypt. We rarely  see such elongation in a art or culture with the exception of the Mayans nearly 1000 years later. The Mayans in an emulation of their Gods modified the skulls of child run of royal lineage by placing boards to mold their heads when they were infants as a sign of beauty, and in mimicking the “Gods that came from the sky” is it a coincidence that the Mayans and other Meso- Americans built pyramids containing star maps of certain dates and their astronomical maps during those times. On the walls of such rooms. 

  After ruling as a monotheistic ruler and coming under intense pressure and intimidation by the populace at large, Akhenaton embarked on his grandest and most memorable project of all. He moved the Capitol of Egypt to a brand new site constructed from nothing to a complete city within a year or two.The  new Capitol dedicated to Ra Aten, or Aton was farther up the Nile and inland to extricate himself and his family  and court from the political upheaval his decision had caused as well as the turmoil and danger it brought to them. Away from the eyes of the former Cults he and his family could worship the God Aten (sun disk) in the ways they wanted to free from persecution . Amarna was the latter name of the city first called Aton. Akhenaton knew it was the place to build when he saw the glyph for the sun mimicked in the horizon from the place .

akhenaton depicted in sphinx form

 

Glyph from Amarna, showing the sun Ra

  The new Capitol at Aton or also called Amarna, was in a dry part of the Nile basin. It included a palace, temple to Aton, and other buildings for citizens based upon their jobs and social standing. This move did aid in the family’s feelings of safety and their ability to worship the sun god. The cost to Akhenaton’s treasury was enormous. Without the gains his Father had and his emphasis on changing the religious system leaving so many without an income  or way to pay taxes Egypt began to enter a financial period of little growth. After the move the treasury  began to go broke.

 

2of Akhenaton’s daughters

  

Meritaten, Akhenaton’s daughter

  

Akhenaton and Nefertiti, at play with their daughters.

 Akhenaton and his wife Nefertiti had six daughters. His co regent Smenkhare died before reaching the throne. His daughter Meriaten died in childbirthand none of the daughters ascended. His daughters names were Meriaten, Meketaten, Ankhenspaaten, Neferneferuaten, Neferneferure, and  Setepenre.

 

Tutanhkamun with his Queen

 After his death he was succeeded by Tutanhkamun  who, obviously as a nine year old crowned pharaoh, under pressure from the priests and cults of the Gods reverted back the the polytheisistic religion prior to Akhenaton’s reign. The Capitol at Amarna was abandoned for that of Memphis and Egypt continued on in the same fashion until about 300 years later when Moses member of the royal household was forced to make a similar choice.

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Kohlrabi Friday Say Hay!

Kohlrabi Friday Say Hay!

This afternoon after a trying morning with social services agencies, food bank- You Gotta Love Eileen and the Gang down at River City Food Bank. I found myself down at the 29 th Street Ligh Rail Station yet again, normally this is a transition point for me in my travels. The place I extricate myself from a city bus and hustle across the three lane intersection bound for the elevated cement walled maze called the interstate Freeway System- fasten your seat belts ladies and gentlemen – the ride can exceed speeds of 70 -80 mph, with other hurtling motor propelled chunks of high grade shells of composite or metal each independently controlled it could be a major thrill.

So I get my thrill by jaywalking across the three lanes from the 28 th bus shelter to the light rail station directly across the street. It’s a terrifying two minutes and that is all the up close and personal interaction I want with individually controlled fuel burning shells. I prefer the larger ones that carry ,any more at a time and use less fuel for transporting more people. What else can occupy my short attention span anyways? Believe me you don’t want to see me in an automobile in which I have any level of responsibility or control with the exception of buckling the seat belt, windows, and audio controls and map folding on longer journeys. I think automobiles are abominations and absolutely a destructive force when everyone feels entitled to one and using one in that way separates people,isolating them from the social structure and group that our species and those just a a rung away on the Darwinian ladder seem to be organized in. I digress.

 

River City Food Bank , Sacramento.

 
So after the second time there today, I ended up at the River City Food Bank. The River City Food Bank is the absolute best in Sacramento. These people give their clients an amazing amount of service, without judgement, questioning, and pity.  The volunteers are always cheerful and genuinely interested in the people they serve.  It truly does feel like you are being served when you are there. Three Cheers for Eileen and the Crew at River City Food Bank, especially the volunteers. Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!

My Cal- Fresh ( I know how arrogant MY..) benefits had not yet made it to my card yet so I called Amy over at River City, who helped me with an appointment, she gladly helped and told me she would call and try to figure out what was happening with the benefit. She invited me to stop by and explained they were having a really slow day. I agreed, knowing it. Is rare Friday when the food bank is slow. Friday’s are decent days to go since the food bank is usually shut down on the weekends and any fresh produce must be given away before the end of the day. 

After I got there, she had gone on break and I was the only one in there so I got a couple bags of food. There is usually one odd ball fresh item that can throw someone off their game. I mean what is Napa cabbage doing with beef-a-roni ? Being an old pro, literally in the kitchen not much can catch me off guard. Today, indeed was the day,  and the gauntlet was down for me to accept. On the gauntlet lay a group of three pale green bulbous roots with a bunch of wilted yellow greenish leaves. KOLRABI, K-o-l-r-a-b-I.  

The challenge was on!

What did I come up with, more later. Here is a sneak peek at the finished product or at least one of them. After looking up the framework for a few recipes and cooking techniques I decided on a Kolrabi bread pudding type of dish. 

KOLRABI BREAD PUDDING

The ingredients, or my modified versions with what I had in my pantry are as follows, 

  • 2 Kolrabi Roots (peeled, and quartered or sectioned)
  • 2 t. Kosher or Sea Salt
  • 1 pinch Nutmeg ( freshly grated)
  • 3/4 cup Cream of Mushroom Soup (non condensed)
  • 1 cup Sourdough Bread Crumbs ( sliced toasted and processed)

Preheat oven to 350′ F 

Get a medium sized pot with lid and fill half way with water. Bring water to a boil, then add Kolrabi pieces. Boil until fork tender ( about 5 minutes). Drain, rinse and purée in food processor with spices ,cream of Mushroom soup, and breadcrumbs. Blend until smooth and thick. Spoon into lightly buttered or 3 oiled 4″ ramekins or small. Pyrex dish. Bake in preheated oven until lightly brown on top and warm throughout. About 25 minutes 30 if in single Pyrex .

Cool for 5 min then serve.

NOTES on the DISH.

The dish itself underwent several modifications based upon the ingredients that I had on hand. The original recipe asked for milk or heavy cream, Neufchâtel cheese, eggs, and Parmesan cheese.  I wanted to do mine with a much lower amount of dairy and without eggs. I substituted cream of mushroom soup for the cheeses and dairy and thickened with bread crumbs over eggs.

The Kolrabi is similar in flavoring to other winter root vegetables such as rutabagas, parsnips, or turnips. The flavor is not as sweet as a parsnip but not as sharp as a turnip providing a good balance between the two.

  
One more plug for the River City Food Bank  where anyone is welcomed no questions asked. One does not need to be receiving social services or be on Food Or Cash Aid. If you should find yourself running short one month due to an extra added expense or unplanned emergency they are always happy to help. The three days supply of food they provide does not contain processed foods, “junk foods”,  or much anything with refined sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Generally one receives three breads of ones choice. I found some great Naan bread yesterday.  Pasta, or dried noodles, oatmeal, applesauce, some canned items- fruits and vegetables, then fresh vegetables and fruits in season. When you time it right one can get bags of fresh locally grown produce and fruits. Then a protein time or two are given generally in the form of eggs, chicken, pork roast, or beef roll. The final stop is a bit of grab and go your own choice- yogurts, cottage cheese, sauces, or condiments.

The River City Food Bank relies heavily on donations and volunteers to keep it going and can use any resources you may consider for your charitable budget whether time or currency. If you have a large fruit tree that is loaded with extra fruit even a few bags of goodies from it or other prolific crops in the garden are welcome as well . One of the main fundraising events that supports the River City Foodbank is Empty bowls a luncheon that combines contributions from local artists in the form of handcrafted ceramic bowls and local eateries, chefs, and catering companies that prepare different soups to fill the bowls with. This wildly successful fundraiser is always quick to sell out and an event completely unique to Sacramento.

Friday April 17

well this week has flown by all around me and I’ve been a lazy git around it I am now determined to get as much done as I can this weekend and today. I have so much that needs to be done and souch to do so we will start with the room and laundry then head to the food bank. Friday’s are good days Togo as they clear out for the weekends . I am hoping for a nice pot of beans with some protein to go with it. 

After the food bank the grocery store to fill in the holes ie. Butter or whatever is not in abundance at the food bank that goes with the food. The fun part is always creating the meals around the ingredients. This is where some of the best recipes and dishes originate. Ok so for now I will start on the cleaning and then let you in on the cooking stuff later. 

The earthquake in Kathmandu 2015

Freeing My Mind

Mahesh Acharya had just finished speaking about the contentious constitutional issues. It was now turn to talk about the upcoming national convention of his party the Nepali Congress. The Minister of Forest and Soil Conservation, who is also a Nepali Congress leader, was telling me how the rumours that the NC President and Prime Minister Koirala was seeking to elongate the constitution-writing process until after the party convention were baseless.

Then, he said, “There’s an earthquake” and rushed towards the door. I did too. But just as I had just scrambled out of the door, I don’t remember how, it began shaking like crazy. I reached the grass lawn outside, but lost balance. I rolled on the ground, something similar to a somersault, only that it was involuntary. What a weird situation to be in, I thought. To be taking an interview as a journalist and doing a somersault. It amused…

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