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Showing posts from January, 2016

Everything in Japan is dangerous

Are you ready for my first rant grumble* of 2016?
* I added some art to turn this into an aesthetic treatise instead of mere kvetching. Ignore Ru being her usual impatient impolite impudent and also impecunious, since we're now im-ing, self and just look at the pretty pictures.
I'm not complaining about tertiary education yet; that irritation needs to cool down a bit. No, this is about Japan's obsession with "abunai" (dangerous) and its concomitant addiction to Predictability, Rules & Regulations.
Last weekend I walked to Yushima Tenjin. It's a profoundly silly thing to do during the New Year's period, since it's one of the busiest shrines in Tokyo thanks to gazillions of students asking its enshrined deity, Sugawara no Michizane, for success in the school entrance exams that will be held in the next few weeks.
I'm not going to repeat the spiel about the god of scholars; you can read it here.

I knew the shrine would be busy, but I thought the…

Monkey business in Akasaka

I said I'd be back, didn't I?
OK, so, the year of the monkey. Usually a new year and a new Chinese zodiac sign involve a bit of Googling and searching and walkpeditioning to find a shrine than embodies that particular animal, but this year I got lucky. It's the year of the monkey, and the one monkey shrine in Tokyo happens to be a fairly famous one that I've been to several times.

Nonetheless, I revisited it very early on the morning of the 31st: early enough to avoid the millions of New Year's visitors, and in time to watch the shrine's preparations for the crowds.
Hie Jinja (日枝神社) in Akasaka.

It’s not entirely clear when this shrine was established, but it was probably in 1478 by Ōta Dōkan, a warrior-poet. Tokugawa Ieyasu relocated it to the grounds of Edo Castle, and in 1604 his son Tokugawa Hidetada moved it out so that the people of Edo could worship there.
It was officially designated one of the kanpei taisha (官幣大社), meaning that it stood in the firs…

Happy Year of the Monkey

Good morning, all, and Happy Monkey Year! Here's a baby baboon from South Africa:

I'd like to think he's sticking his tongue out at 2015 and saying "good riddance". It was a tough one, but I really hope– think– am 97% sure– that I'll return to blogging this year. This post is a start, and I'll get going properly in February, when the part-time job that's killed my free time is finally over.

I hope 2016 is a jolly one with no monkey business. Let's go ape, shall we?