Archive for the ‘religion’ Category

My first shrine visit of the year, referred to as hatsumode (初詣) in Japanese, actually involved visits to two local shrines in Toyonaka. As always, I visited Kasuga-jinja, the shrine where I’ve been making my New Year visits since moving to Japan in 2005. Kasuga-jinja is dedicated to Amaterasu, the sun goddess, among many others, […]


the 11th year

31Mar16

March 29 marks the anniversary of my arrival in Japan, where I’ve now lived for a total of ten full years, almost a quarter of my life. I celebrated the beginning of my 11th year of living in Japan with a trip to Sennyū-ji temple (泉涌寺) in Kyoto with the poets Yoko Danno and Kiyoko […]


This last autumn — way back on October 17th — I trucked over to Sasayama to attend the annual Sasayama Autumn Festival (篠山秋祭 — sasayama aki matsuri), which is officially called the Kasuga-jinja Religious Festival (春日神社の祭礼 — kasuga-jinja no sairei) and presumably has its origins as a harvest festival. The matsuri coincides closely with the […]


the Shouryoue

08Mar14

The Shouryoue (聖霊会) is held every year on the 22nd of April to commemorate the death of Shotoku Taishi (聖徳太子), a semi-legendary imperial regent credited with facilitating the spread of Buddhism and founding Shitennoji temple (四天王寺) in Osaka and Horyuji temple (法隆寺) in present day Nara.  This commemorative ceremony, which is over a thousand years […]


The plum blossoms are at full strength, the white magnolia in my backyard is covered with so many blossoms that it looks like a performing waiter balancing a thousand ceramic cups on a thousand arms like some kind of woodland Shiva, and the songbirds have returned to scope out all the good early nesting opportunities.  […]


In a couple of days I’ll be off to Taiwan for a week, my first trip outside of the US and Japan since I visited South Korea in 2009.  Since I never really had a chance to post about my trip to Korea, now seems like the perfect time. To get to Korea, I took […]


Not too far down the road from Izumo-taisha the last sandy vestiges of the land sprinkle out into the Sea of Japan.  The beach here is called Inasa-no-hama and it is the site where Okuninushi (大国主), the Great Land Master, ceded control of Japan to Amaterasu and her heirs.  According to the Kojiki, the Record […]