Wednesday, November 19, 2008

More Torii

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A Japanese structure that has fascinated me since early 1960 is the TORII

Literally meaning "where the birds reside",torii are gateways at the entrance to Shinto shrines or sanctuaries.
They are typically made of timber,stone or sometimes iron;

Most wooden torii are painted

Some buddhist temples also have torii probably because at one time the two philosophies overlapped and merged to some degree.

The large timber torii with bronze decoration is at the Meiji Shrine close to the
Harajuku district of Tokyo.Dedicated to the Emperor and Empress Meiji it is a particularly fine example of Shinto architecture.
The torii measures some 17 metres in height and 15 metres in width and marks the entrance to the shrine itself.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Rinko's Shichi-go-san

On November 15,this adorable little three year old took part in a Shichi-go-san ceremony........literally 7,5,3 when parents celebrate their children with prayers for the child's healthy growth and longevity.

The customs followed today evolved in the Meiji era (1868-1912) and November 15 was chosen for the celebration because it was considered the most auspicious day of the year.
As Shichi-go-san is not a national holiday,many failies choose to celebrate on the weekend prior.

Accompanied by her parents and grandparents, Rinko visited a Shinto shrine dressed in traditional kimono.........(.she actually showed me her gorgeous costume when we met her grand-parents in Himeji in late October.)

Most children carry a bag decorated with cranes and turtles which symbolise longevity,and into these are placed chitose-ame (longevity candy sticks.
The candy and bag indicate the parent's wishes for a long prosperous life for their children.

My sincere wish for a long and happy life dear Rinko
October 29

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Hiroshima: Children's Peace Monument

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War is the work of man
War is the destruction of human life
War is death
To remember the past is to commit oneself to the future

To remember HIROSHIMA is to abhor nuclear war

To remember Hiroshima is to commit oneself to

(attributed to Pope John 23)

I originally planned to blog my travels in order of visit,but my visit to Hiroshima Peace Park and the Memorial Museum,had such a deep emotional effect that I needed to share with my readers........

At 8.15am on August 6, 1945,the city of Hiroshima (with a population of approximately
350,000 souls)
fell victim to the world's first atomic bombing.
The entire city was virtually levelled and approxim,ately 140,000 lives were lost.

At the instant of detonation,the temperature at the centre exceeded a million degree Celcius,generating an enormous fireball .

At the moment of the explosion,an extremely high pressure of several hundred thousand atmospheres was created.
The surrounding air was thrust violently outwards and produced an intensely strong blast.The blast pressure 500 metres from the hypocentre was an enormous 19 TON per square metre.
Buildings were crushed and people were flung through the air.

To walk through the Memorial Museum and view the exhibits is a most sobering experience:
Tattered scraps of clothing;crockery fused into earth;
the diorama with wax figures of Atomic Bomb Victims..............very graphic and disturbing.

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