Thursday, June 30, 2005


I just came back from a nearby shrine and now I'm writing this up with a can of low-malt beer and corn on the cob right next to me. There was a local festival called “wanuke-sama” at the shrine tonight.

I’m no anthropologist, but I guess the ancient Japanese were not the only people who associated rings/circles with some mysterious power. Anyway this wanuke-sama is a local religious festival associated with such a power of the circle.

Wa” means circle or hoop and “nukeru” means to go through, “sama” is the suffix used when addressing someone who is superior to you. Thus, Wanuke-sama is, I suppose, the name of the god who is in charge of the magical hoop.

At Wanuke-sama festivfal, you are supposed to go through this big hoop made from chigaya (Imperata cylindrica) 3 times in total. First, you pass through it, then immediately turn left and come back around the side of the hoop to be in front of the hoop again. You then go through the hoop again, and this time immediately turn right and come back to the original position. On the third time, you go through the hoop and again turn left and come back.

It is said that doing that ritual will take away all of your bad lucks you had or bad things you did in the first half of the year, and keep you safe and healthy for the rest of the year. I wonder if the ritual symbolizes a “re-birth” process or something, and I assume there is some good reason for doing it “3 times” and in order of left--> right--> left, not the other way around. They also say that going through this green hoop, you can get the fresh power to stay healthy throughout the hot and humid summer. They even have a “drive-through”wanuke-sama at a shrine in Kochi (Scroll down to see the pictuer) :D

The shrine was already crowded with many people, including kids in yukata (Japanese light kimono for summer season) at around 6:30pm.

After finishing that rigual at the entrance, you are supposed to wash your hands and mouth with water here before you proceed to the altar for the prayer.

I thought these dragon-shaped faucets were rather unusual.

At the altar, you throw some coins into the big collection box, ring the large bell and pray.

Also you can buy one of these ornaments to take home. I guess this is supposed to give you part of the magical power of the big hoop.

Kingyo sukui (scooping goldfish?)
I really loved catching goldfish like this when I was a kid, though the gold fish I caught never lived long.

Well, am I ready to make a fresh start of the 2nd half of the year...??

posted by obachan, 6/30/2005 11:18:00 PM


Well, I think you do have a wide variety of cultures/traditions which were brought into your country from all over the world. Plus the great cultural assets of Native American people. Actually, it was after I was exposed to the Native American culture in Arizona that I started re-discovering the value of my own culture. I guess America is making its tradition in an "American way." 

Posted by obachan
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 7/04/2005 11:46 PM  
carlyn, SORRY!!
The moment I posted the comment above, somehow your comment disappeared!! I don't understand!! How could that happen?!
Terribly sorry!  

Posted by obachan
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 7/05/2005 12:01 AM  

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