culture / lifestyle

20 March 2024

fox wedding

Rainfall in sunshine is called "fox wedding" in Japan, but I don't know why. 

The figurines of fox wedding couples pictured below are the votive offerings by visitors of a shrine I visited. I guess they are to make wishes for fullfillment of their love.

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01 January 2024

SHIDE paper

These zig-zag shaped stripes of paper are called 紙垂, or Shide, for indicating the sacred area in a shrine. They are usually attached on Shime-Kazari which can be seen on new years days. ( related page is here

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04 December 2023

Torii gates

Thousands of Torii gates are placed along the path that leads to the top of the sacred mountain, Fushimi Inari, Kyoto. Most of the Torii gates were donated by merchants and it became difficult to find the space to build the new one. ( related page is here )

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And here are smaller version of Torii gates that offer for small donations. So many Torii gates for many different wishes. ( related page is here )

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04 October 2023

emoji

Face with tears of joy is the 2D Emoji that represents a crying with laughter facial expression. Shoei Matsuda made it a gigantic baloon titled "The Big Flat Now", and exposed in a spacious gallery. The Emoji is so popular for everybody that visitors can naturally understand it even though it was in 3D.

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31 July 2023

mouth of truth

Is this a Japanese version of "mouth of truth"? Well, I don't know but just guess it's a kind of Koma-inu or lion dog which has a role as a guardian to keep evils away. ( related page is here )

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05 June 2023

machiya

Not many but some old Machiya, a traditional merchant’s house, is well preserved in the city of Kanazawa. ( related page is here )

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Irori, an open fireplace, is placed in the business area near entrance to welcome their customers. You will notice the scratched pattern on the ash, I guess it's an easy version of charcoal settings as in formal tea ceremony.

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Beautiful wooden structure can be seen looking up at the spacious entrance. I guess flat ceilings used be only for living space.

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13 February 2023

plum blossoms

This handcrafted flower is an artwork made of MizuHiki paper cords, probably figured plum blossoms which tells us the spring is coming soon. ( related page is here and here )

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16 January 2023

3D Mizu-hiki

Ise-ebi is a kind of Japanese lobster and is one of the fortune symbols as longevity. Its well-known example of the usage is a decoration on Kagami-mochi, rice cake, to celebrate a new year and to wish family's health.

This artwork below is Mizu-hiki paper cord woven in 3D figured Ise-ebi, which used to be attached to the special gift to celebrate the opportunity, although we can rarely see this nowadays.

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06 January 2023

Shime-kazari

Shime-kazari is one of the style of Shime-nawa rope, which is made of laid rice straw or hemp rope for ritual purification in the Shinto religion. They are believed to guard from evil, so we can see them at Shinto shrines or sacred places. ( related page is here )

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And these paper lanterns are donated by devotees, not so common but some shrines have them hung this way.

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28 December 2022

fortune turtle

Turtle is a symbol of longevity and one of the traditional fortune motief. They are usually have algae, or maybe seaweed, growing on their back beacause long lived. In this picture below, the turtle shaped ornament is well hand crafted from rice straw, and you can see the grown algae expressed like a tail. 

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Here is the traditional setting for a new year, you can find the golden turtle beautifully weaved with Mizu-hiki paper cords. It also has long silver algae spread from its back.

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