Thursday, October 19, 2006

MORE THAN SHOPPING

OK, just to prove I didn't just go shopping, here are a few photos that I took visiting a couple of Shinto shrines, the Meiji Shrine and the Senso-ji Temple. The Meiji shrine is situated behind the shopping area you all went to yesterday in Harajuku. It was a total oasis of calm and quietness after the hecticness (?) of shopping. So very peaceful and still inside. You enter though a torii (gate). This is at the Meiji shrine, and is the biggest in Japan (11m high) and made from 1600 year old cypress.



Once inside a shrine, it is ritual to wash your hands and then to rinse out your mouth before entering the inner grounds. There are little wooden ladels that you use. It took me several hours of scrubbing before I felt I had washed away all my sins.......



The inside of a shrine is more plain simple and less colourful than a temple.



I thought the pictures would look better in black and white as there were many lines and lots of contrast.......



There was a little wishing tree inside the compound. You buy a little wooden plaque and write a wish on it, then hang it on the sacred tree which gets blessed by the monks. I can't tell you my wish, but if it comes true (which it will), you will all feel its warmth.....



The Senso-ji Temple was quite different. It was much more popular as you can see.



The people huddled around the smoking pot are also participating in a cleansing ritual. You waft the smoke over your head to clear the spirit. Here is Yasu washing his spirit.



Unfortunately I didn't have much luck. I choked a little on the smoke. It was being wafted about willy-nilly, but it did look effective against the buildings........



Inside the main temple there is an altar. I didn't understand what to do, but people were bowing and clapping. I would have felt a little silly so I just watched and bowed my head. Others took photos but I felt it was disrespectful. My respectfulness wasn't however rewarded by the Shinto Gods. Next to the altar there's a row of little drawers and a mini tombola-like vessel. You put a coin in a box, then shake the tombola-thing a bit and then a chopstick pops out, with a symbol on it. You match it to one on the drawers, and open it. Inside there is a sheet of paper with a fortune on it. So I gaily picked out mine, feeling all lucky and special, but it was 'bad fortune'. One can cancel this out by rolling the paper up and tying it to an adjacent grill (symbolically leaving it behind). I rolled mine up too tightly it ripped in half, and consequently I couldn't tie it on. So I left, and the first statue I saw was this.....



Eek! But then I found this, which didn't seem quite so fierce (look at the little babies at its feet with knitted red hats on).....



The hat had fallen off the little baby in its hand. I wanted to put it back on, but after all my bad luck, I didn't want to push it.....



To top it off I chanced upon these....



And finally this.



I thought it was a shrine for chefs to come and worship the great God of cooking, but I was informed that the clothes are put on to keep them warm, and that in winter they wear scarves and wooly hats. After a stifled giggle, I forgot all about my bad fortune and wandered off with a smile.

Have a lucky day!

18 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

PodLand is a really great place to visit ;)

great...

10:22 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

A bad fortune?? You'd think they'd be like fortune cookies, where ALL the fortunes are good. (Or at the very least just mystifying.)

10:26 AM  
Blogger Inconsequential said...

:)

4:42 PM  
Anonymous John - Melbourne said...

You're right the black and white works wonders as you had plenty of light and shade. Well shot!

9:40 PM  
Blogger SimonHolyHoses said...

Pod, I adore the black and white shots. Fab.

Those scarey statues reminded me of some pictures in a book I have. It's the British Museum catalogue of early chinese "art" (jugs, sculpture, and other practical artifacts). There is quite a considerable polynesian appearance about it all.

The faces they made are excellent, and look like something out of Stingray - very stylised and scarey looking, and that in turn reminds me of the Maori rituals and the face pulling they do to ward off evil spirits.

Do you think there's a connection?

Keep up the excellent work.

9:55 PM  
Blogger Pod said...

JAZZY - jazziland aint so bad either. especially with all those funny clothes!

STEVE - i know. typical of me. still, i have left it all behind.

INC - ;0)

JOHN - thanks! having difficulty leaving comments with you?

SHH - thanks for the encouragement. i know what you mean about the similarity. maybe way back there is some sort of connection. i just spent 3 years in NZ, so i will post some photos of some of those faces soon.......

11:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Pod - GREAT new pictures, I especially love the black and whites, they are so moody! Fabulous! Now I want to go to Japan and just do black and white...

12:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, the B&W pics are stunning!

I hope all of your wishes come true Pod!
x

3:17 AM  
Blogger Molly Bloom said...

OOoh, these are lovely Pod. You have captured the mystery of the place with the B+W. How lovely. Oh Podster, I wish I was brave enough to fly so far.

7:11 AM  
Blogger √čarithranduil said...

This is a fantastic sequence of pictures!
It make me smile, it make me dream!

8:27 AM  
Blogger Kitty said...

Wonderful photos.

I think I'd be a long time at the ladel place too.

Sorry I haven't got time to say more but it's after 1am here and I really must get to bed.

Will speak to you when I get back. Well not speak but you know what I mean.

10:10 AM  
Blogger Pod said...

JD - hurrah for no more control freaks! onwards and upwards! i wish i had taken more photos now!

TRAC - thanks love. sounds like one of your wishes just has! farewell evil bus driver!! ha ha haaaa!!

MOLLS - come on love, take my hand and i will make you feel all safe and we can fly together!

√čARITHRANDUIL - what a mouthful1 i am going to have to give you a nickname. Earith? Randy? Ear? which do you prefer? Pleased to make you smile, even more happy to make you dream. Good to see you again!

KITTY - oh love, i know. you would have to be dunked ans scrubbed and soaked for ages hey? have fun, will miss ye x

10:55 AM  
Blogger little purl one said...

Oohh you mentioned knitting - more of that would be ace. Your photos are ace - especially the one with the tree - very beautiful. When I had to think f three wishes reccently Molly suggested I wish for a real live moomin - I really hope you wished for one each for us - did you?

Don't answer that - I know you did....

4:59 AM  
Blogger Pod said...

LP1 - i pray nightly to glimpse a real one x

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