Tobata Gion Oyamakasa

I briefly wrote about the annual summer festival that’s held in our neighbourood called Tobata Gion Oyamakasa in a previous post or two. The festival commemorates a historical event about 200 years ago where the residents of Tobata were cured of a plague or somesuch epidemic disease. I’d do further research but that will have to wait until after I have some spare time. Here are the in-blog links: a photo from the 2004 festival and a brief mention in my Sugawara Jinja post

The festival involves residents of each of four neighbourhoods carrying large lantern floats. On the first night, all of the floats converge near the Tobata ward office, and race laps around the park. On the second night, each float gets paraded through its respective neighbourhood.

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Ukiha Dippers

I took the day off today so that I could do some more moving prep. So instead of a long rambling post, I only have time for a photo and caption. This time it’s from a shrine I neglected to write down the name of, in Ukiha in the southeast corner of Fukuoka.

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Tanga Monk

It’s been really tempting to go back to my usual ways and post another series of photos about quirky Japan or interesting-to-me internet oddities. In choosing images to write about, I seem to be reliving a phenomenon I experienced in the first weeks of art school. In the early days of my introductory drawing class we did an exercise where we were told to pay attention only to the negative space—everything but the object we were supposed to be drawing—but in trying to look at the background, the foreground object came into focus. Last week while I was digging around for photos of weird stuff, all I was finding was picture-postcard traditional images. Now that I’m trying to skip over the oddities, oddities are all I seem to be finding. I guess it’s like trying to listen to the sound of one hand clapping while a tree falls in the forest with no-one around to hear it. Or is it like counting to ten without thinking about pink elephants?

I dunno, but I’ll try to stop mixing koans and metaphors now. You’ll have to wait at least until tomorrow—probably longer—for all the strange I’ve recently unearthed in my photo library. I’m committed to keeping it—playground frogs, muppets, battle aprons, and general misuse of English in the name of fashion—at bay while for a few days. Today I’ve got one measly picture of a Buddhist monk. In the rain, no less.

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Split Statue

Today marks a return—of indeterminate length—to photos of the picturesque and serene Japan that you’d expect to see if you were to spend all your time leafing through coffee-table books or travel guides. Buddhist temples, zen gardens, mysterious shrines, statues, women in kimonos, and the like.

Today’s photo is of a statue we found on an out-of-the-way path behind a wonderful restaurant in the ume (Japanese plum) groves behind Dazaifu Tenmangu shrine in Dazaifu City.

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Obvious Restaurants

Today was yet another day of exhaustion. We had the first day of our class match at school—all of the homerooms compete against each other in various sporting activities—plus I revised a recommendation letter that another teacher wrote for one of his students, and did some coaching for an interview exam that a few of my students will have on Sunday.

And that was just the morning. I took the afternoon off and, among other things, dealt with a whole bunch of moving-related logistics. Is this interesting? I think not, so I’ll give you a couple of photos to look at.

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Random Reader Rewards: The Prizes

The dogs at the local Buddhist temple are making a big ruckus—their barking is echoing off the concrete building and creating a feedback loop—which means it must be nine o’clock. This random bit of trivia has nothing to do with today’s post topic but is part of the nightly reality of Kannonji-machi.

I only just remembered my promise about sending out random gifts to commenters. Well, that’s not exactly true, but I’ve only just had time to make good on the promise. Today, you get to see some of the wonderful prizes that I’m going to put into the care of the Japanese postal system later this week.

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An Average Sunday, Plus Powerful & Sexy Women

In which I briefly mention American white trash during a tangent about a fashionable hat, but mostly talk about a day spent shopping, visiting friends, cooking, and packing.

Today we spent some time with Lia’s friend Yoko. We did a little shopping, ordered a couple of inkans—Japanese name stamps—and had lunch with Yoko’s parents. Later, I cooked up a storm, and we had a fabulous supper.

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