Tag Archive for religion

Naked Man Festival in video

I’ve covered the Kounomiya Naked Man Festival in the past; Kounomiya is the place and shrine near Nagoya, which is known in Japanese as Hadaka Matsuri, Hadaka means naked, and matsuri means festival. Below is the bigger spectacle in Okayama covered by the BBC just yesterday. Ceremonies for the Nagoya Kounomiya festival starts from this week, but the main event is on the 28th Feb 2018 (Kikuko Nagoya). If you want to participate in the this festival, you have less than 24 hours to can email Kikuko. Enjoy.

Correction: I just received an email alerting me to an error on a source website. The event is not 28th Feb 2017, but in 2018 (which is 13th January of the lunar year).

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Coming of Age Day in Japan


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Hong Kong model Sabrina visiting Meiji Shrine in Tokyo during the Coming of Age Day in Japan. The Coming of Age Day (成人の日 Seijin no Hi) is celebrated annually on the second Monday in January by only young adults who have recently turned twenty years of age. They return to their high school to attend ceremonies, and then go to shrines and temples to pray for their futures. Typically the guys wear a nice suit; the same one they would wear for job interviews, but the ladies dress up in kimonos.

Unfortunate for the young ladies who chose too come to Meiji Shrine, there were hordes of tourists, photographers, and Sabrina and I waiting to harangue them into photos and selfies. It was almost masochistic the attention these ladies received from almost everyone there. Anyway, with the ladies pictured above we were nice and respectful. In fact, they were happy to talk to a Hong Kong model, were pleased with the photos I took, and then asked me to take exactly the same ones with their own camera. Because they did us a favour, I was happy to oblige.

It was great working with Sabrina, I hope she had a great time in Tokyo. Update to the JapanesePhotos Instagram at: http://bit.ly/2kpZFbj. Also see other photos from this collection at the Sabrina gallery on my PhotoShelter portfolio.

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Visiting Sensoji Temple, Tokyo #POTW

This Photo of the Week (POTW) is of Miyu at Sensoji Temple in Asakusa, Tokyo (Wikipedia). This photo was taken on my first day ever in Tokyo. Yes, I have been in Japan for many years, and have never taken a trip to Tokyo ever before. I had just dropped my bag off at the hotel, not being able to check in until 3pm. I met up with my model and we made our way to Sensoji Temple and created a great set of photos.


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Miyu at Sensoji Temple, with Tokyo Skytree Tower in the background.

 

Sensoji Temple is probably the first religious site in the area that later became a town, city, and then “Tokyo”. It is said that in 628AD two fisherman came across a small gold statue of Buddha in the near by river, which also marked the approximate location that the temple should be. The statue is so sacred that it has long been hidden away from public view (if it still or ever has existed). Consequently, this temple was probably the first and oldest tourist attraction in Tokyo. The site was bombed in World War II, and has been rebuilt partly as a symbol of resurrection of the city. Today, it is the most visited ‘tourist site’ in Tokyo and possibly Japan for overseas tourists. I heard people speaking English, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Korean, (probably) Thai and Vietnamese, and of course Japanese.

Photo galleries: Alamy, Ana, Joanie, Miyu, Tokyo.

Cost: Free.

Where: Closest subway station is Asakusa Station on the Ginza Line of the Tokyo Metro.

When: Any time of year. Best is obviously when the cherry blossoms (sakura) are in bloom, early summer, and Autumn with the changing colour of the leaves. Best to go early in the morning before 10am before the crowds get to thick, and in the evening when it’s beautifully lit.

What to see: Kaminarimon Gate, Sensoji Temple, Nakamise Street (shopping & souvenirs), Tokyo Skytree Tower (a 17min walk away), the kabuki and geisha districts.


A view of Nakamise Street filled with stalls selling souvenirs for tourists, and at the end if Sensoji Temple.

 

What to do: Enjoy the sights. Take a rickshaw ride and tour of the area. Enjoy a kabuki performance in the area.

What to eat: Surprisingly, there are a lot of restaurants that say they have English and Chinese menus. A lot of restaurants have pictures or wax samples of their food on display out the front. It is possible to find a good hearty meal for under ¥500 (USD$5), but more usually about or under ¥1,000 (USD$10). Also see food.


A ramen restaurant in Asakusa.

 

Where to stay: There are many hotels in the area, which are reasonably priced. This area is on one of the main subway lines, which gives good access to much of the other interesting places in Tokyo. The Ginza Line of Tokyo Metro gives you straight line access to the famous Ginza district, and Shibuya.


Friends enjoying dining out at street eateries.

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POTW 22 July 2013: Fushimi Inari

It’s that time of year, when people go on holidays and holiday destinations get… popular. Here is my all time favourite city, Kyoto. In particular this Photo of the Week is of the Torii Gates at Fushimi Inari, from the Temples and Shrines collection. According to Wikipedia, Fushimi Inari was founded in 711 (ironic, Japan loves 7-11) to worship Inari, the god of businesses, merchants, and manufacturers. It is an amazing place to walk through. You can spend an entire morning strolling around the hills where these make paths enjoying a surreal-like adventure land. However, this time of year… and considering it’s Kyoto, take a thermos filled with your favourite cold drink from a vending machine, and a fan; you will sweat.

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Art: New Religion

It’s not often I get to release a new batch of art photos into the wild. This collection is simply called New Religion. The base set of images are of Fushimi Inari Shrine and Daigo Temple in Kyoto, whilst the second are of commercial scenes including shops near Fushimi Inari Shrine, and Sakae and Osu shopping areas of Nagoya. New Religion, I hope, will have people pause and reconsider the things they worship, the daily and weekly rituals they have, as well as the intellectual and spiritual nourishment they get. Some of these images will be displayed at the up coming Foreign Artists Exhibition. Stay tuned for details.

All images are available for sale at the New Religion gallery. Available for download, and as high quality gallery-standard prints.



New Religion – Images by Andrew Blyth

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Fushimi Inari

What a day it was. I had spent the afternoon before walking around town finishing the Jazz Improv collection, and then I spent the morning in Kyoto at Fushimi Inari walking up the mountain and down again. Oww, my calf muscles hurt. This image is available for purchase.

A close up of a lantern with the famous torii (gates) of Fushimi Inari Shrine.

A close up of a lantern with the famous torii (gates) of Fushimi Inari Shrine.

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photo of the week 19 Sept 2011

For a few weeks now I’ve been doing a “Photo of the week” on my Twitter feed. I’m choosing the nice photos of something relevant now or soon, or just personal favourites that need a gentle nudge into the spot light. However, I have got concerned that I might repeat a couple of photos accidentally, perhaps to the annoyance of followers who are eager to see what’s coming out of the land of the rising sun, so this begins my ad hoc cataloguing attempt. Seriously, there are people who do look forward to seeing what’s new from me. I’m not surprised, I do look forward to my daily Dilbert and Sinfest comics.

This Photo Of The Week (POTW) is being promoted now, six months in advance, so that editors can organise their material and choose my photo for it. As you can see, it’s a stunner. And as you can see, it’s a public event and children were there. Here is my blog entry about the Tagata Fertility Festival, held annually in March in Nagoya, Japan.

 

Here is a list of previous POTW.

Toyohashi Fire Festival: http://t.co/P0azYYA

Mt Fuji and Japan Airlines in the same photo: http://t.co/qsAF8Ye

Cute Cosplay girls: http://t.co/4vzhenF

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Ishidori photos

The photos from this year’s Stone-bringing Festival (Ishidori) are available at Asia Photo Connection. The Stone-bringing Festival is an event that is probably over three hundred years old. I’ve written about this before (Tag: Ishidori), and there is also some good information about Ishidori on Wikipedia. I’m making this information available for free in the hope that you’d find it useful and would buy my photos. Which reminds me, buy my photos.

Clicking on the picture below will take you to a gallery of my Ishidori photos on Asia Photo Connection, and my Ishidori PhotoShelter gallery from previous years.

The lower portion of a portable-shrine and it's town-members at the annual Stone-bringing Festival.

The annual Stone-bringing Festival (Ishidori Matsuri) at Kuwana City is the loudest festival in Japan.

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Ishidori video

Ishidori is the Stone-bringing Festival, an annual Shinto event held on the first weekend of August. It is reputed to be the loudest such festival in Japan. It is not well known, but a very lively festival, and perhaps a best-kept festival secret. The festival apparently dates back to over 300 years, and involves more than 30 portable shrines representing each of the wards (or towns) within Kuwana City. Photos for this festival are being processed and should be available soon at Asia Photo Connection.

In the mean time, here’s the preview.

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Tagata Fertility Festival

The Tagata Fertility Festival, Tagata Penis Festival, or Tagata Honen Matsuri is the festival that is becoming famous for the large wooden penis that is paraded around a town. It isn’t a celebration of immaturity or pervertedness at all, as many Westerners might assume. It is actually a ceremony to ask for a rich crop harvest, and the phallus is made of fresh cypress pine each year, to symbolise newness, freshness, and fertility.

A penis? From my time in South Korea, Taiwan, and Japan, I have come to realise some fundamental differences between an Anglo-Western culture (prominent in Britain, North America and Australia) and the Far Eastern countries: we have Catholicism and they have Confucianism and Taoism. This might not be ground breaking news, but it is particularly relevant in understanding why a Japanese Shrine can have a fertility festival in which families and children will attend to the order of 100, 000 attendees annually, but you will not see a phallus nor 100,000 people at a Catholic church. The main fundamental difference is that in Catholicism anything related to sex is considered a sin, and we Westerners must feel guilty about it. However, the Far Eastern countries don’t have this burden of shame, and so they are happy to celebrate and pray for a good harvest, fertility, and use a phallic symbol as well.

So who attended? To my estimation, it seems that the number of people to crowd at Tagata Shrine was far less than 100,000 people (I have seen crowds of 100,000 people and more at other religious festivals in Japan). But this shortfall shouldn’t be surprising; this festival was on the first Tuesday after the 11 March, magnitude 9.0 Tohoku-Kanto Earthquake.

What happens?

In the winter months the wooden phallus is carved by master craftsmen using traditional techniques, and wearing purified clothing. On the day, it is strapped to a saloon and put on display. Here is a great photo opportunity, and there’s never a shortage of happy old men to encourage any lady (of any age) to pose by the big penis. In the early afternoon the phallus is then paraded very slowly through the town. Also paraded are smaller penises, and bamboo trees with white and red-polka dot ribbons. I still need to find out what the ribbons mean, but I guess it’s more about human fertility than crop fertility.

How to get there:

From Nagoya Station, take the Meitetsu train company Inuyama line to Inuyama Station for about 25 minutes. Change to a local train on the Komaki Line to Tagata-Jinja Mae Station (lit. Tagata Shrine in-front of Station), for about 11 minutes. The total oneway trip is ¥730, but check Hyperdia.Com for schedules and current ticket prices. From Tagata-Jinja Mae Station just follow the crowd to the event. Some people go to the destination temple, or to the temple where it all begins, or do both.

My images are available on my PhotoShelter Account, and will soon be at Asia Photo Connection. Also, see Wikipedia for more information.

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