Shrine Guardians 3: Legend of the Lion Dogs

Back in the mists of time, before the islands of Japan had formed, there lived two divine brothers. Neko-kun and Inu-kun were twins and, as it usually goes in stories like this, were in most things equal and second-to-none. Yes, they were both second-to-none. At the same time! I kid you not, but let me get back to the story before I ruin the mood. Their skill with the bow was unsurpassed.

News Bulletin: We interrupt this story to warn readers that a three-hundred-foot-tall quadruped has materialized over Antarctica and has proceeded to mark its territory this is the third of a four-part series. It’ll make more sense—though not a lot more sense—if you read part 1 and part 2 first.

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Shrine Guardians 2: Further Fieldwork

Continuing from yesterday’s post, today I have many more pictures of lion dogs from shrines further afield than Kitakyushu. First we’ll visit Dazaifu in central Fukuoka, then we’ll go to Miyazaki on Kyushu’s southwest coast, and we’ll finish our expedition on an island in Hiroshima. Because there are so many pictures, you won’t have to do much reading.

As this is the second in a four-part series, you’ll probably want to read Part 1 if you haven’t already done so.

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Shrine Guardians 1: Research & Reality

Are they lions or dogs? Why is one open-mouthed and the other closed-mouthed? What are they doing at shrines all over Japan? Well, I’ve found some of the answers. Secrets of the Japanese shishi—also known as koma-inu —will be revealed at last! The creatures are, in fact, lions. Or dogs. Or lion-dogs. One explanation of the mouths is that the open mouth is to scare away evil spirits, and the closed mouth is to keep in good spirits.

For those of you with short attention spans, the rest of this post is mostly just further details about the quadrupeds in question, a little bit of background about why I chose today’s topic. Plus many many pictures.

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Culinary Herbs: Too Rare or Too Dear

Back at the beginning of April, Teresa Nielsen Hayden—co-host with her husband of an excellent blog called Making Light—posted about food, specifically a sole in a panicky green sauce that she’d made. Being the foodie that I am, I read through—and added to—the discussion her post generated, which was full of people talking about the herbal dishes they were concocting.

There were many descriptions of sauces that, for lack of the appropriate plant matter, I’ll be unable to attempt until I get back to Canada. My contribution to the discussion consisted mostly of moaning about the difficulty of finding fresh, affordable herbs in Japan. Let’s just say that as my envy grew, so did the pressure in my salivary glands, and it’s a good thing I knew where my towel was.

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13 Ways to Find My Blog

Today I wrote about time, but what I’d thought would be a short post has grown to over 1200 words so far. It’s in need of some major editing so I’m going to file it and take another look at it in a few days. Meanwhile, just when you thought statistics were boring, I’m going to demonstrate that they don’t have to be that way. As with most things, it’s all about how you choose to interpret them.

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The Book Stops Here

I generally try to avoid these internet meme things but I’ll do this one about books and reading. Lia tagged me on this post. As you’ll soon see, I’ve got my own interpretation of the questions.

Number of books I own: I don’t know. I’ve never counted. I don’t think I’ll bother. For one thing, I’m not sure whether all of the audio books, ebooks, and such count. Especially since in some of those cases, it’s more a matter of being a licensee than an owner. I’d hazard a guess that the total is more than a few dozen and less than ten thousand.

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Coding Exhaustion, Plus a Tobata Festival

I’m trying to keep these site maintenance posts interesting by including something completely unrelated. Is it working?

Last Friday and Saturday we had the annual Culture Festival at Yahata High School, so today I had a day off for having gone to work on the weekend. How did I spend my day? Well, if any of you were trying to read my blog, you may have figured out that I was fiddling with the code.

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Elegy: Julian Pas (1929-2000)

This entry has been in the works for over a month, and although I’m not completely satisfied with it, today is probably the most appropriate day to post it.

In my recent explorations of Japanese temples and shrines, I’ve often thought about my dad, Julian Pas, who passed away five years ago today. He was a scholar of Chinese religions, and as my sister noted in a recent comment, he used to explore Taiwan with a motorbike and a camera. I had known he was an avid photographer—that’s probably where I got it from—but until Sonya told me, I hadn’t known about the motorcycle expeditions.

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More Tinkering, Plus Battle Robots

There’s been a lot of family blog work this week. Namely, Lia has a new blog and after seeing what it looks like, Jarrod decided that he wanted a new look to his site. Now I have no excuse not to finally spend some time making mine look a bit more like something that I’d make, rather than the default that comes with WordPress. For those of you keeping score, WordPress is the blogging software that does the heavy lifting to run our blogs.

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