Planting Ceremony

We live in the 21st century and pretty much most of the agricultural processes are done mechanically. If you live in the countryside, you are fortunate to be able to see rice planting done by humans. It's a ritual ceremony organized by a countryside shrine.

In Nikko city, Moritomo Takino Shrine (森友瀧尾神社) is known for having the biggest shimenawa (注連縄) in Tochigi Prefecture. Shimenawa is made of rice straw shaped to look like two ropes tangled together. Shimenawa is supposed to keep the evil spirits away from sacred grounds.

Moritomo Takino Shrine owns rice fields where the straw for a big shimenawa comes from every year. Shimenawa is exchanged for a new one in December.

This is an entry for Show Me Japan Vol 1, Issue 26. If you want to see nice photos taken in Japan, don't forget to visit!!!


Me No Hot, No Pain!

Another self-torturing performance freaked us out at the Tagesan Fudoson (多気山不動尊) fire festival.

Young monk appeared in public with a handful of bamboo branches in his hand, then approached the big metal bowl filled with boiling water. After reciting a sutra, he revealed his upper body. We just held our breath and waited for his next move to come...

He broke the silence by frantically spraying boiling water on himself. We were just speechless at this show of extravagant discipline. Bamboo branches shuttled between the pot and his body more than 10 times until his body was (most likely) cooked.

When it was done, he was overwhelmed by the standing ovation.


Fire Walking at Tagesan Fudoson

Buddhist monks walking on fire is an eye-catching event we love to see. Today I went to Tagesan Fudoson (多気山不動尊) by Mt. Tage (多気山) in Utsunomiya city. It's a Shingon school (真言宗) Buddhist temple that is said to be established in A.D. 822 by Sonchin (尊鎮), one of the disciples of Monk Sho-do (勝道上人). Hayagriva/Bato Kannon (馬頭観音) used to be worshipped there until A.D. 1355 but Utsunomiya Castle Lord, Kintsuna Utsunomiya (宇都宮公綱), transferred Acala/Fudo Myo-oh (不動明王) to the temple. Due to this Buddhist guardian, this temple is called "Fudoson (= a temple worshipping Fudo Myo-oh".

Last year we went to see a fire-performance done by Buddhist monks at Kobugahara Mt. Kongo Zuihoji temple (古峯原金剛山瑞峯寺) in Kanuma city (鹿沼市) and posted an article in our another blog, Budget Trouble. Practically what I saw today at Tagesan Fudoson is very similar to that event performed at Zuihoji temple.

This is an entry for Show Me Japan Vol 1, Issue 25. If you want to see nice photos taken in Japan, don't forget to visit!!!


I am back!

Dear visitors,

I am terribly sorry for being away from your wonderful blog(s). Due to my family issue that happened soon after 3/11 disaster, I sort of lost my motivation to photograph. To be honest, I still am but I find it inappropriate not to update my blog.

From now on, I will resume posting photos, though not as often as I used to do.

This photo was taken last spring at Korinji temple (広琳寺) in Utsunomiya city with my old film camera, Nikon F801S with a fish eye lens, of course. It's totally out of the season now but the 200-year-old cherry tree should be worth sharing with my visitors.

This is also an entry for Show Me Japan Vol 1, Issue 24. If you want to see nice photos taken in Japan, don't forget to visit!!!