Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Kobe - Chocolate Factory

We'd wondered what it was that our Grandfather, Arif was doing at this business in Kobe, Japan.  We recently learned that this was a chocolate factory. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Russian Alphabet for English Speakers

Tatars in Tatarstan and other places in Russia use the Russian Alphabet. Tatars add an additional character or two, but the alphabet is essentially Russian. There were attempts made at adopting the Latin Alphabet, but those attempts were suppressed by Moscow. Most Tatars in diaspora communicate in the Tatar Language using Latin letters.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Louis Armstrong Очи Черные (Dark eyes)

Louis Armstrong - Очи Черные (Dark eyes)  Ochi Chernyie

This is a Russian song, and a famous one.  It is not a Tatar song, but every Tatar knows it.
This version is by jazz great Louis Armstrong, sung in English - Volga meets Mississippi River.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Volga River, Iowa, USA

The Volga River is an 80.7-mile-long (129.9 km)[1] river in the U.S. state of Iowa. It is the major tributary of the Turkey River in the northeastern part of the state. The river runs through Fayette and Clayton counties before joining the Turkey River near Elkport. The Turkey River then runs into the Mississippi River near the town of Cassville, Wisconsin. The Volga River State Recreation Area is a state park along the river near Fayette.

Joan Davis - Olga From the Volga - 1937

We like Olga from the Volga but Joan Davis' character certainly isn't a Tatar Woman.  First of all, a Tatar family would never give their daughter a Russian name.  They would choose a Tatar name or a name from some other ethnicity other than Russian, as in Spanish or German.   The Tatar people also refer to the Volga river as the "Idel". 

National Geographic Museum - Muslim Civilization

As we explored Washington DC, hunting for tidbits of Tatar culture, we stumbled upon an exhibit at the National Geographic Society Museum concerning "The Golden Age of Muslim Civilization". 

“1001 Inventions: Discover the Golden Age of Muslim Civilization” is a blockbuster traveling exhibition that highlights the enormous contribution to science and technology made by men and women of different faiths and cultures who lived in Muslim Civilization.
“Muslim civilization stretched from southern Spain as far as China,” explains Ahmed Salim, Producer and Director of 1001 Inventions. “For a thousand years, scholars built on the ancient knowledge of the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, making breakthroughs that helped pave the way for the Renaissance. The discoveries made by men and women of different cultures working in Muslim civilization — from automatic machines and medical marvels to astronomical observations and inspiring architecture — have left their mark on the way we live today.”
1001 Inventions is a global educational initiative that promotes awareness of scientific and cultural achievements from the ‘Golden Age’ of Muslim Civilisation and how those contributions helped build the foundations of our modern world. The 1001 Inventions exhibition was named the Best Touring Exhibition of the Year at the Museums and Heritage Excellence Awards in 2011. This highly interactive exhibition showcases the historic advancements in navigation, medicine, hydraulics, optics, mathematics and more.
"The mission of National Geographic is to spread knowledge of the world and its cultures — past and present," said Kathryn Keane, Vice President of Exhibitions at the National Geographic Society. "This exhibition is an opportunity to share the fascinating history of Muslim civilization with our audiences and to celebrate great scientific achievement and innovation."


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Tatar National Ornamentation

Валеев Ф.Х. - Татарский народный орнамент - 2002

F.X. Valeyev - Tatar National Ornamentation - 2002.pdf (191.mb)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Five Tatar Books

Five Tatar Books 
Printed in Japan 
Tatar Language
Arabic Alphabet

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Nureyev Leningrad

We were researching Nureyev's connection to the Kennedy family and stumbled on this.
In addition to his talents on stage, he was cool.

Kazan Tank School 1944

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Nicholas and Alexandra/ Николай II И Александра

1994 documentary on the demise of the Romanov dynasty.
This tale never gets old.   Neither of them were Tatar but how their empire dominated Tatars so!

Nureyev and the Kennedy Family

The grave marker of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis 
1929 -1994

Our hunt for "Tatar Washington DC" continues In Arlington National Cemetery, where we paid our respects to many fallen heroes and figures in American history including President John F. Kennedy, and his family resting at his side. 


In the Museum of National History, part of the Smithsonian museum displays this gown worn by Jacqueline Kennedy on the day of her husband's inauguration

Margot and Rudolf

Jacqueline Kennedy, being fond of the arts, viewed a performance of Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev dancing "Giselle".   She was pleased enough to make her way backstage with flowers for Mr. Nureyev where his manager told her that "Rudi needs to rest" and did not tell Nureyev of his honourable guest.   Afterward, he was furious and made great efforts to find Jackie and repair this awkward introduction and did in fact solidify a loving mutual friendship between the two.

Here is Rudolf Nureyev with Bobby Kennedy

Here is Rudolf with Caroline Kennedy

 Here is Rudolf Nureyev's Grave in Paris, France
more on his grave here

American Center of Polish Culture

Poland was the furthest West extent of the Golden Horde.  There are many in Poland that identify as Tatar and we are told that as in Russia, "If you scratch a Pole, underneath you will find a Tatar" 
Wandering the streets of Washington DC, camera in hand, we found yet another connection to our ancestral heritage.

Polish - Dziadkowie mówili tatarskiego!
English - Grandparents spoke Tatar!

"Moja rodzina w Polsce jest pochodzenia tatarskiego"
"My family in Poland is of Tatar descent"

Korean War Veterans Memorial and Tatars


Our uncle, Hayrullah whom we've shown climbing the minaret in Kobe Japan was being groomed by the Japanese government to be a Mullah.  He was sent to Egypt, as part of a group of young Tatars they had hoped would help administer regions within the future expanded Japan.
     World War II put an end to that and Hayrullah ended up in a Turkish military academy, with the assistance of a sponsor.  It was not possible to just immigrate to Turkey.  There was a fee for admittance to Turkey and Turkish residency.
      At this academy, he learned and advanced ranks to become a Tank commander and he served in the Korean War conflict with the Turkish Army, administered by the United Nations.  Hayrullah passed away in Turkey in 1969.  
      This war is not officially over and there are thousands of soldiers on both sides facing off to this day, forty three years after his death.

Embassies of Central Asian Republics

We'd hoped that we would have some time to view embassies of nations of other Turkic states.  Where are they?  What face do they present to the world?   We were fortunate in that we didn't need to hunt them down.  There were many in the neighborhood of our hotel in Northwest Washington DC.  

These structures are all very interesting but leave us longing for a Free State of Tatarstan, with the Flag of Tatarstan hanging out front and a nice sign that reads: "The Democratic Republic of Tatarstan".  Will this dream ever come true?   These structures assert the sovereignty of these states and all that comes along with that sovereignty; language rights, territorial integrity, etc..

The embassy of Mongolia is in Georgetown.

This tremendous sculpture sits outside the Embassy of Kazakhstan, NW Washington DC.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Tatars on the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial

Part of the Mall in Washington DC includes a memorial to those that died serving in the Vietnam War.  This memorial is popular and many people taking rubbings of names and small groups praying and very serious.   There are directories at either end with names and name locations.  We found two names that are certain to be of Tatars.  We don't know if Leslie or George were aware of it or not, but they were Tatar.  May they rest in peace.

Tatars under American bombs - Kobe

At the Museum of American History at the Smithsonian, we were stood in front of this image from a B-29 Bombing raid over Japan and were horrified to see that this image is actually from June 5, 1945, a time when many Tatars, including our family, were under all these bombs.  

Our hunt for the Tatar experience continued at the World War2 Memorial.  Many Tatars living in California were in Japan and China during World War 2.  
Our Tatar brothers in Tatarstan refer to World War 2 as the Great Patriotic War.   We are told stories of a difficult life during and after the War in Japan, difficult for Japanese, and very difficult also for Tatars.   Our family house is a museum now, one of the first in Kobe with a western design.