Archives for : March2009

Priority seats

Tokyo subway: Priority seats

Tokyo subway: Priority seats

Fierce competition

Happy snappers

Happy snappers

This a shot from the Hiwatari Matsuri, or Firewalking Festival, today in Takao, West of Tokyo. During the festival ascetic priests walk barefoot over hot coals …. really interesting. So why was I shooting old people taking photos? Hmmm. Here’s something a little more relevant. This ceremony is held annually at the Yakuoin Temple, which dates back almost 1300 years. The ceremony is intensely ritualistic, with several smaller rituals preceding the main fire-walking event. This includes the burning of thousands of wooden tablets (called “nadegi”) upon which visitors write their names (before they are cast into the flames, ya dig). By burning them they too will be purified. The priest performing the ritual in this pic is also scattering salt for a double dose of cleansing. (The Japanese are a very clean people!)

Hiwatari (fire walking) Matsuri

Hiwatari (fire walking) Matsuri

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