Tag Archives: Shikoku Henro

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.