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Sunday, October 05, 2008

"My Karma ran over your dogma." - Unknown


After a 8-day hiatus, the never-ending travelogues continue:

Japan trip
Day 9 - 14th June - Otaue Rice Planting Festival, Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine; Osaka
(Part 2)

Shrine entrance


Is long hair a prerequisite to be a Miko (Shinto Shrine maiden)? I didn't see any with short hair (maybe some of them are wearing wigs so they can mount the toilet paper rolls).

Although I arrived a bit late, I didn't seem to have missed anything.

Clearing the way

People passing a box on a stick to each other and waving puffy things in the air at the head of the procession

Puffy things

People dressed as Samurai

Holy Drum and Bell

Kid Samurai, who only get sticks for now

Musical instruments. As you can hear, they sound horrible.

Priests and Mikos

What looked like the oldest people in the procession. I assumed they were VIPs.

Young girls Child labour

Veiled maidens for the dances

Maiden with lampshade over head

Holy Water and Farmers

Women farmers

Kid farmers

Schoolgirl farmers

At this point I'd gotten bored of the slow procession, so I temporarily diverted my attention.

Large wooden bridge

Smaller stone bridge

I then turned my attention back to the procession.

Kids with fans (! - maybe it's health and safety regulations so they don't get heatstroke). Notice the mother doing last minute touching up of her daughter's outfit.

Kids with chaperones. Notice the procession kind of trailed off at the end - they had no proper vanguard. Tsk.

This being a festival, there were snacks stores like:

Unlicensed Mickey Mouse Creampuffs

The travesty that is pre-shaved flavoured ice. I had some and as I expected it was hard. Maybe the Japs don't know how to make flavoured ices - I had one in Nara and it wasn't very good either.

Festival fans

Mixed kid. The father was from the Czech Republic (someone asked).

Meanwhile the procession was proceeding apace:

Procession taking rounds around the rice field

Samurai and banner

Farmers getting ready

Priest performing ritual

Priest and grass

Farmers and Ox

Dancing Maidens

Female farmers

Farmers coaxing Ox to plough


Maidens dancing

Farmers planting

The festival got a bit slow, so I poked around the rest of the shrine (the narrative is slightly simplified so readers don't get confused).

Kid warriors

Young girl with umbrella - darling of the photographers

Assorted shots from the rest of the Shrine:

"宫本四第" (Yes, wrong last character blah blah, you know the drill)
Notice the netting to protect the sculpture on the roof (from birds?)

"宫本三第" (Yes, wrong last character blah blah, you know the drill)

Knotted prayers.
2 possibilities:
1) Business is so good that everyone who has wishes they want fulfilled come here
2) Wish fulfilment rates are very low, so no one comes to unfold their prayers since they don't come true

More shots

Cat shrine

Cat charms

One place in the shrine also sold a case for lucky charms/amulets - made from bubble tea straws. Uhh...

Tie a rope around the old whatever tree

Washup point

Praying to/at tree
As someone pointed out, it's a "creepy tree tt'll fit right into a chinese ghost movie abt tree spirits"

Someone needs to clean the roof

I then returned to the festival.

Single maiden dancing

Milling around

Kid farmers. The boy at the bottom's cute.

Kids running around field

Weapons procession

The rest of the ritual consisted of more rice planting and boys in plastic armour chasing each other around. The best bits seemed to be over, so I left.

All in all it was much more interesting the the festival at Fushimi Inari.
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