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Showing posts from July, 2014

Edo wind chimes: air con for your soul

Have you noticed that Japan has a thing about bells?
Watch people's phones: every second phone charm has a little bell that jingles with the slightest movement. There are bells on doors and bells at shrines and bells at temples. There are bells on traditional hair ornaments called bira-bira kanzashi, bamboo chimes tuned DFGA for your garden, bells are a symbol of peace (link) and their sound echoes the impermanence of all things (link).
From which one could correctly deduce that peace is ever transient.
Now, before I get sidetracked down a thousand rabbit holes, let’s focus on the real topic: bells, yes, but specifically wind chimes or fūrin(風鈴).

I would not to mine own self be true if I didn't include a little history lesson. Here we go:
The oldest wind chimes found at archeological sites in South East Asia are 5000 years old. These early versions were made from wood, bones and shells; and were probably used to keep birds out of cultivated fields and/or to ward off evil spirits.
C…

The littlest Inari shrine in Tokyo

I have an irritating tendency to do things ass backwards. Instead of approaching life in a linear, logical fashion, I bollemakiesie into it.
Bollemakiesie means somersault, and it's one of my favourite Afrikaans words. I love the sound of bollemakiesie, huppelkind, hupstoot, kwansuis, bokmakierie, fieterjasie, gogga, katjiepiering, kolwyntjie …
Oh. I do seem to like the diminutive form, -ie, in Afrikaans.
See? I'm doing it again. I want to tell you about the littlest Inari shrine in Tokyo and how do I do it? By bollemakiesie-ing into it gat-oor-kop via Afrikaans words.

I first read about this shrine in an old book about Tokyo, which merely said the smallest Inari shrine was in Akasaka. It didn't even mention the shrine's official name, but it did include a map. It was a silly idea and a wild fox chase, and when could I ever resist either? I took off. I knew the shrine was somewhere in Akasaka, near the TBS building, but that in itself was an iffy direction since the m…