Even Buddha Gets a Cute Beanie When it’s Cold

I find it fascinating that Japan took  Buddhism, Shintoism, hints of Confusism and Christianity, threw them all into a blender and came out with a giant silly mishmash.

newyear trip 093

It’s a place where they take their shrine and temple festivals extremely seriously, yet often have little idea of why they’re doing it or who they’re praying to, whether getting crushed by giant shrines, run over by giant shrines on wheels, or running around in diapers.

There are shrines for getting a spouse, losing a spouse, scoring good grades, getting money, making war, making peace, and getting laid, while the temples pull folks into wacky rituals based on arbitrary bad luck numbers.

On my island the religious pilgrims endlessly march around clockwise, hoping for a piece of enlightenment, whether on foot, bike, or overloaded bus full of senior citizens. A few tricky folks, paying no head to their brethren have figured out that the true path apparently lays in going counter-clockwise.

In the summer, festivals full of shaved ice, barbecued squid, airsoft guns, and minor gambling fill the shrine grounds in a scene that’d be sure to flip Jesus out.

…And in the winter, Buddha gets a skully and some cute threads.

About these ads

5 responses to “Even Buddha Gets a Cute Beanie When it’s Cold

  1. It’s not Buddha but 地蔵 (Jizou). Don’t throw everything into the giant stupid mishmash of Buddha, mmmkay? You say they have little idea of what they are praying to yet you don’t seem to have the slightest idea of what you are talking about. Irony much? :)

    • And I maintain equal ignorance about the religion of my own upbringing….

      I apologize for being human and making mistakes….

      I’m obviously a completely ignorant douchebag…but I did warn folks via the title, right? I made no claims to finding any serious greatness here. It’s just another shitty blog by some douche.

      So feel free to ignore me and I’ll do a bit of research on Jizou as a compromise.

  2. This made me giggle. ^_^

  3. One of Jizo-sama’s duties is to guide the souls of dead children through the next world. In all likelihood, the beanie might have been left by a woman who lost a child through miscarriage, stillbirth or abortion. It’s not uncommon to see these statues dressed in outfits such as bibs, with toys and candies piled around them. As the parent of a small child, coming across these Jizo figures when I’m in Japan always gives me pause to think, and leaves me feeling more than a little sad for the suffering that some parents have had to endure. Here’s a link to the Wikipedia entry:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jizo#In_Japan

  4. Pingback: Weird things about Japan – Gakuranman

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s