Wednesday, September 23, 2009

More Randomness

So, I forgot to mention that on my Shinjuku trip, I saw my first Buddhist temple. This week is what the Japanese call Ohigan, which is the week when everyone goes to visit the graves of their ancestors, and they burn incense and bring flowers and I suppose pray for the deade. Here in Japan, they practice three different religions, typically. For births, and such ceremonies, they have the Shinto religion, for weddings the current generation typically does Christian, church weddings (though there are more traditional Shinto weddings), and then for death, they have Buddhist funerals, which is why Buddhist temples have graveyards. Here in Japan, no one is buried, but rather, everyone is cremated, so the graves are just monuments with the deceased's name on it, and there are particular rituals that go along with the funeral (the passing of bones with chopsticks, the switching of the top flap on the kimono, etc). But anyways, there is a striking difference between the looks of a temple and the looks of a shrine. For instance, a Shinto shrine usually bears the colors red and gold, and besides the main shrine, there are usually smaller shrines, either guarded by a fox, a dragon, or a dog. Shrines have the 'gates' that you've seen in my pictures, which look like open doorways of sorts, and they also have a water basin where you scoop out water to wash you hands at the outset. On the other hand, Buddhist temples seem to tend toward the more earthly tones of green and stoney grey, and the areas are decorated with stones bearing carvings of Buddha everywhere. Also, they have the graveyards, and the one I went to was very lush with greenery. So, that was interesting.

Other things I've noticed here: there is little to no celebrity news what so ever. Not that I'm particularly sad about that point, only a little surprised. The only celeb news I've heard the entire three weeks that I've been here has been about the starlet and her husband that were arrested for using hard drugs. Another thing, the mosquitoes will eat you alive. No joke. I've got more mosquito bites on me now than I think I've had in my whole life. So, that's miserable. Also, honey is ridiculously expensive. And, everyone here under 35 is goregous. I mean, gorgeous, both the guys and the girls, and so stylish too. How they even decide who to make celebrities, I'll never know, because no one is better looking that the other. I don't know if that's just because of where I am, in the city, or not, but Americans don't hold a candle to the Japanese youth right now. So, that's all for now. I've uploaded more pictures, so if you've got time, check them out, and I'll ttyl!

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