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2010 May 3

I am on my knees with shame for not having updated for more than a month now, especially since it was Spring Break and I had so much downtime. I am slowly plugging away at a massive text file, but in the meantime, have the interesting part: my photos! There are actually notes on all of them this time, so hopefully it won’t be too hard to follow.

A friend of mine chose to spend his spring break with me in my corner of Japan. Check out the albums Chris in Hamada and Chris in Hiroshima to see what we got up to. The Hamada stuff is particularly interesting, as we visited several incredible temples, including one that dates from 1382.

The beginning of April brought cherry blossoms and spring festivals. We experienced lots of both when the Shimane ALTs converged in Matsue for a training seminar that happened to coincide with the Matsue Castle parade, and then we visited a cherry blossom festival in nearby Kisuki. Check out this album for both!

I did my own special cherry blossom viewing at a shrine I’d always wanted to visit, just off the highway out of Hamada city but hidden behind a lumbermill. My very unprofessional photos are here.

ALTs met up again for the famous Yabusame (horseback archery) tournament in Tsuwano, known as the “Little Kyoto” of western Japan. My fellow roadtrippers and I visited this enormous Inari shrine along the way. My photos and video of the archery itself aren’t up yet due to being located on a separate camera, but when I remember to download them, they’ll be with the rest of the day’s photos here.

Two weekends ago, Hamada had its own castle parade and spring festival, the 浜っ子祭 (Hamakko Matsuri, Hama-children festival). The parade was full of preschool and school children as well as elderly folk dance groups, kagura monsters, and City Hall employees. Next year I’ll apply early to ensure I can participate. For now, you’ll have to settle for my sideline photos here.

Phew! There’s my giant photodump. Except, this week is the wonderful convergence of public holidays known as Golden Week, and tomorrow I’m headed to Hiroshima… this time is a shopping holiday, but I’m sure I’ll emerge with interesting photos all the same. And like I said, I’ll try to provide blocks of text for each of these events (plus a few I don’t have massive photo albums for) later on. For now, enjoy these albums while I enjoy my vacation!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. MOM permalink
    2010 May 6 10:56 pm

    The gates at the lumber mill shrine look more like the color we Americans call RED as opposed to the ORANGE color of such gates at other shrines. Is that just the photos? Are you investigating this important matter of color?

    • 2010 May 6 11:02 pm

      The lumber mill was definitely red, and the large shrine was definitely orange! My personal theory is that larger shrines seem to be more orange-y, so perhaps the orange paint is more expensive? Fushimi-Inari’s gates were red, though, weren’t they…

      • MOM permalink
        2010 May 7 5:54 am

        I remember the color as orange and wondering why guide book said red. And when I look back at the photos the color seems more orange than at the lumber mill. Is this a question of language – not having a word for the different color? What do the Japanese call the fruit we call orange? Or are there explanations like age, color, expense? I guess you will continue visiting shrines to explore the color question.

  2. 2010 May 7 7:14 am

    Japanese didn’t have a category word for “orange” until they received the loan word “orenji”, so it’s pretty clear from the torii that orange was in the red category. What’s not clear is why there are color variations within the shrines. Even though they didn’t have a category word, there was probably still a specific word for each color, so I’ll have to do some research on shrines and see if it turns up.

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