Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Setsubun - to welcome spring.....umm hello its snowing

This is a carry over from the message about snowing. That day was also Setsubun. This is the Buddist festival to welcome spring, ward of evil spirits for the new year and get rid of the ones from last year. Specifically, the evil spirits are to do with health. The ceremony begins with prayers and then the demons come out.

Below is the description from the Temple's website:

Setsubun in SouganJi Temple (Kazo City)

Takes place at SoganJi temple on February 3. Setsubun is a ritual which takes place on the day before the beginning of spring on calendar, that is the bean-scattering ceremony celebrating the coming of spring.On this day, demons of red, blue and black carry big torches and run around the corridor of Fudou-Dou (a hall dedicated to the Buddhist god Fudo-Myo-Ou) in Souganji temple. Men and women of the year (based on the Chinese zodiac) throw beans at them shouting the spell "Oni wa soto, fuku wa uchi." (which means "Demons go out, luck come in"

Alex, Amy and I stood there and waited and waited. The demon finally came out but it was hard to get photos. Plus it was snowing really hard and we werent allowed to have our umbrellas up. There were about a million police there. Guess they expected more people but cause of the snow there werent many. It was quite funny cause it was almost like there were the same number of police and festival goers. They were all in white dress uniforms. Amy was obsessed with them cause she thought it was funny that there were so many. Some of them were quite cute too, which she enjoyed.

Then our friend Chris arrived and we headed back to the station via the longest route possible. We thought we were going the right way, but we got distracted creating our own setsubun ceremony. Amy put the mask on and then the others threw the beans at her.

Then we decided to have a snowball fight and chase each other around. It was so fun. But our feet were freezing by the time we finished. Coming from the desert, i had heard the idea that if your feet are warm then will be fine. It was so uncomfortable having wet feet. So when we eventually made it to the station, via every street of Kazo city, we went to the 300 yen ($3) shop to buy new socks. It was amazing how much better it was with dry socks.

It was a really great day.

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