Month: Last updated Jul 31, 2017

Kawasaki Halloween Parade 2008

The Kawasaki Halloween Parade is held on the last Sunday of October every year near Kawasaki Station. There are other big Halloween celebrations in places like Harajuku, but the Kawasaki version is more for adults. They have DJs and dancing, and there aren’t so many kids. It’s definitely worth checking out. This guy made a lot of kids cry. He was dressed up as Anpanman, a bizarre Japanese superhero, whose name means “Bread With Sweet Bean Paste Man.” He fights against Baikinman (Germ Man) and is, according to Wikipedia, the most popular fictional character in Japan for children under 12. This subversive costume maker is depicting him with bites taken out of his head, which is what upsets the kids so much. Links: Official website: http://lacittadella.co.jp/halloween/ (Japanese only) Video of the event: http://celestialkitsune.wordpress.com/2008/10/25/kawasaki-halloween-festival-2008/ Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new...

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Hamarikyu Performer

A traditional Japanese street performer at the Hamarikyu Gardens in Tokyo. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new...

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Shirakawa-go

The first time I saw pictures of Shirakawa-go, I thought it was about the most beautiful place I’d ever seen. I wished I’d been born a hundred years ago and half a world away so I could have lived there back when it was untouched by the modern world. The old gassho-zukuri houses are some of the most aesthetically appealing dwellings I’ve ever laid eyes on, and it’s now listed as a World Heritage Site. I think a lot of non-Japanese who visit there probably spend at least a second or two thinking about how it might be cool to live in one of those houses. Pretty much everyone agrees it’s a shame there are so few of them left, and I remember reading in my Lonely Planet that “construction of the giant Miboro dam in the ‘60s submerged many of the villages…”  I always thought that this was the main reason why there are so few gassho-zukuri left today. This summer, on my most recent visit to Shirakawa-go, however, I found out that I didn’t know the whole story. In the visitor center of Gassho no Sato Folk Village in Shirakawa-go, there is an amazing video and collection of newspaper articles about why nearly everyone left. Below is a photo of the article, and a somewhat re-written version of the story of one family in one village who...

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Platform Sleeper

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The Karma-cutting Shrine

Kama Hachiman Jinja is what is known as an engiri (karma cutting) shrine. If a person thinks that they have an undesirable karmic connection with a person, he or she sometimes go to an engiri shrine to sever their connection with the individual. This shrine in Osaka has thousands of kama (sickles) that people stick in a huge old tree to escape from people they don’t want in their lives anymore. It is said that in ages past, there was a sacred tree on the spot, and that the Nobushige Sanada (1567–1615) visited there to pray for success in a battle. He stuck a kama into the tree, invoking the god Hachiman and afterwards went on to win a great victory. The shrine is believed to cure headaches, asthma, haemeroids, and other sicknesses. People also go there for exorcisms, to get rid of evil spirits, to improve bad luck, and to break relationships with people they don’t want in their lives anymore. This is an ema (votive plaque) from the shrine: It says “Keep K.T., M.O. and N.K. away from my daughter. Please sever this evil relationship.” For more ema and information about this temple see: http://www.quirkyjapan.or.tv/kansai-kamahachiman.html Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in...

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