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August: The Return of Souls

August is peak summer season in Japan.  We can look forward to some of the most spectacular fireworks displays and festivals in the world, ...

Local Temple

shinju shrine

Up these stairs there’s an ordinary temple, a place of solemn peace and quiet.  A place that’s far removed from the noise of Tokyo’s ultra touristy mega shrines that attract millions of visitors this time of year. 

minamioota

Hundreds of stairs up the way leading to this temple, full views of southern Yokohama come into clear view on the first day of the new year.

nichiren

Here, there’s a statue of the great Buddhist teacher named Nichiren who taught devotion to the well known sutra Namu-Myōhō-Renge-Kyō.

Historically, Buddhist temples were responsible for the handling of matters related to the dead whereas the  Shinto shrines was and is still today the indigenous religion of Japan, which has more to do with deity worship and living things.

Sometimes, you can see both a Shrine and a Temple in close vicinity to each other.  Such is the case for this shrine/temple - nearby.  There were many gravesites that had beautifully engraved marble head stones.

obasaan

And then a curious passerby was surprised to see me there around her neighborhood temple.  No. I didn’t  try anything.  Too “Juku” for me( too far up in age).   She and I had a wonderfully lighthearted conversation about the area, though.  She had a very contagious laugh, so whenever she laughed I laughed with her and both of our voices could be heard by everybody around.

shrinefront

I usually make my way to a shrine at the first of the year, but this time I chose to appreciate a temple.  Places like these need to be appreciated.  It was nice seeing people come around to clean up around the place.  People often bring energy and restore vitality to an old run down place.  I really love how Japanese will often times take very good care of old things.  Just because it’s old doesn’t mean it’s broke.  Sometimes I wish I had taken better care of my things in the past.  The sentimental value that old belonging can create can be a beautiful thing.  

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