About POTWs in 2013
I think this is the first post of 2013. As you know, Photo of the Week (POTW) blog posts aren’t exactly weekly, as I am a busy person. I do apologise for not being able to be so frequent, but blogging is just the fun side of what I do, and it takes time to think of something worthwhile to say, and ensuring it is worth your time to read. POTWs are usually published each Monday at about 6pm (Tokyo time), though it may have to be adjusted later this year as my schedule may change. Please use the RSS button in your browser to obtain a list of updates, and bookmark this site in your browser, too.
Other Website news
You may have noticed the new version of the JapanesePhotos.Asia webpage looks a little different. The main two differences are the drop-down menu, and the multi-screen functionality. That means, the homepage should work well on smartphones, tablet computers, desktop computers (Mac, Windows, & Linux). However, there is unfortunately a caveat. The homepage is designed for the most up-to-date web 2.0, HTML5 systems. Which means the Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) browser (regardless of age) may have functionality problems. Many websites, companies, and web designers have been complaining for years about the out-of-datedness of IE, and very recently Google explicitly stated it cannot provide any more support for IE. However, I do maintain a simple text menu at the bottom of the page, above the footer for IE fans. On that point, currently, WordPress (the volunteer group that created and maintains this blogging software) still produces IE compatible software, though I don’t know how much longer their resolve will last.
This Photo of the Week (POTW) is for an upcoming annual event, the Naked Man Festival (Hadaka Matsuri). It is held in coldest, most miserable part of winter in Kounomiya, just outside of Nagoya, in central Japan. The next event will apparently be held on the 16th February 2013 (according to WhatonWhen.Com). Here is some info from my 2009 blog post:
It began over 1,200 years ago, in the year 767, when Nara was the capital of Japan. At that time, there were plagues affecting the Japanese people, so Emperor Shotoku ordered special prayers to be said nation wide. The governor of Owari Province (now Aichi Prefecture) asked the shrine at Kounomiya to do something about this, and to remove the bad luck. So, the Naked Man Festival, held in the coldest time in winter was formulated.
If you’re planning on being one of the 120,000 plus members of the crowd, I suggest that you prepare well. That meaning warm clothes and avoiding both dehydration & over-hydration. Because of the cold, possible snow and ice on the ground, you’ll need to wear two pairs of socks, thermal leggings, warm trousers, thermal shirts, warm shirt, jumper (sweater), warm jacket, gloves, and scarf. Drink plenty the day before, so your body is at peak hydration that morning. Take a good hydrating drink (eg: Pocari Sweat or Aquarius). Don’t drink too much in the morning. There are toilets there, though I don’t recall ever seeing them, and the toilets at the station will require a ticket for entry.
The event usually starts at about 1pm. Be there before 12pm to get to know the lie of the land, where everything is, have some snacks to warm you up and ensure you have enough energy to withstand the next few hours. Importantly, find a good standing spot, and try to make guesses as to what parts of the public access will be closed off from 1pm, and so you can get a good standing space. Usually, the inside of the temple area will be overcrowded, and you’ll need to sit on someone’s shoulders, and you may be told to get out of the way once the event begins. Don’t worry, as you can work out how to plan things better next year. Also, there’s plenty of space along the boulevard leading up to the temple (shown below), though crowded with the other 100,000 people. Welcome to ‘contemporary zen’ [/sarcasm].
It is a great cultural event, simply because it is such a rare kind of event for North Americans, Europeans, and other Western people. More photos like this POTW can be found on my agent’s website, Asia Photo Connection, by Henry Westheim, and my own portfolio on PhotoShelter.