Saturday, May 26, 2007

Colorful (This week's Photo Hunt theme)

The two photographs were taken on my visit to Japan last year. Though it may not be readily apparent when viewing these images, the colorful items that are the focus of both of them are pretty large and estimated to weigh around one ton each. These facts nothwithstanding, these towering objects actually were constructed to be portable after a fashion; and to be carried for fairly significant distances by groups of men for a few days each year.

More specifically, these aesthetically as well as physically impressive constructions are wooden portable shrines which frenzied groups of male believers will carry while racing through the streets of Fukuoka during its Hakata Gion Yamakasa -- a major Shinto festival that takes place in mid-July and whose participants and onlookers number in their tens, if not hundreds, of thousands.

For much of the year though, these carved creations are to be found -- mounted in place and behind some protective mesh that, presumably, helps keeps birds and such from pecking at them, along with small red wooden fences imbued with, I imagine, symbolic meanings -- in the largely peaceful environs of the Kushida Shrine.

A religious establishment which lies in Fukuoka's bustling Hakata district in a location just off the traditional -- and, if truth be told, somewhat out-of-fashion as well as old-fashioned -- feeling Kawabata-dori shopping arcade plus mere minutes away from the busy plus modern leisure destination called Canal City, that which traces its establishment back to 757 CE makes for quite a study in contrast with the commercial portions that also are located in the heart of that which has claims to being Japan's oldest city.

On a personal note: I'd highly recommend that visitors to Japan who seek to delve beyond the surface of its culture not leave the country without having spent some time inside of a Shinto shrine. And if you're wondering: No, I'm not a particularly religious person by any means; however, my experiences in more than one part of the world often get me sensing plus thinking that it's in many religious establishments where the heart and soul of places and nations are most likely to be felt and encountered.


Anonymous said...

WOW - how amazing is that!! You would never know from the photo that it was that huge.

Happy Weekend!

on the Rock said...

Thank you for sharing these:)

Dragonheart, Merlin, Devi, and Chloe said...

Amazing! Very colourful shrines. Thanks for sharing the story behind them!

Dirkey said...

wow thats amazing!!!

Anonymous said...

I would love to visit Japan some day! great photos!

-tnchick- said...

WOw is what I was going to say - that's pretty neat... it's so interesting to see things from around the world!

PowersTwinB said...

What a magnificant tower of color! I was surprised to read they are so huge! My photo is up, please come and visit

Anonymous said...

Cool photos (and certainly colorful!), and great background info. Again!

So, has work been keeping you pretty busy?

YTSL said...

Hi Pat --

Yep, and I wish my photo could give a better idea of how huge those portable shrines are but never mind, when visuals fail, words can help! :)

Hi "on the rock" and "dragonheart" --

You're welcome and thanks for dropping by.

Hi dirkey --

Yep, I thought so too! :)

Hi tegdirb92 --

I highly recommend Japan as a place to visit. And no, it's not that difficult to get around without knowing Japanese as I thought prior to my most recent visit there. :)

Hi tnchick --

Glad you find it pretty neat, etc. and thanks once again for starting this photo hunt. Am finding it lots of fun! :)

Hi powerstwinb --

Thanks for visiting and I've gone and visited your blog too. :)

Hi Alejna --

Glad you're enjoying your regular visits to the blog. Yep, work has been keeping me busy (worked until 1 a.m. on Friday) but so has Hong Kong. More hopefully soon (maybe this evening) but right now, I want to go off soon to check out a movie at the Hong Kong Film Archive this afternoon... :)))

lissa said...

Nice pics. Thanks for sharing.

Just to let you know I have tag you - read the post at:

It's okay if you don't want to play. Thanks.

YTSL said...

Hi Lissa --

Thanks for visiting and also for the tag. No problem, I'll play. Just please be patient though as it might be next weekend before I blog again, okay? :)

Anonymous said...

Beautiful! Thanks for sharing :)

YTSL said...

Hi vader's mom --

My pleasure. :)