Monday, May 5, 2014

An unexpected Matsuri


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On the afternoon of September 4th, 2011, I was approaching Byodo-ji, Temple 22 of the Shikoku Pilgrimage, when I spied a torii with banners flying, a sign that a matsuri is underway.

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As I got closer I could hear the shouts of children which suggested that the matsuri was underway at the moment. For me, there is no greater pleasure than coming upon a matsuri, especially one in a rural village shrine.

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It was a Yasaka Shrine, a branch of the famous shrine in Kyoto formerly lnown as Gionsha. The main kami is Susano, and also many of his "family", which is kind of apt as he is known as the kami of storms and the last 2 days this area has been hit with a massive typhoon.

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There wasn't anything going on right now. Kids were running around and playing, and a small group of the village elders were inside eating and drinking. They invited me in for food and beer, and though daytime drinking in the heat of the day is not a usual habit of mine, as I was a pilgrim I could not refuse their offer.
After a second beer I insisted I had to leave and they showed me a path leading out of the shrine which was a shortcut over the hill to Byodo-ji

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