Showing posts with label Nara. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nara. Show all posts

Monday, January 7, 2013

New Year 2013 Hozanji Pilgrimage

明けましておめでとうございます。今年もよろしくお願いします。Happy New Year 2013 from VAOJ! For the last few years my hatsumode (first visit to a shrine or temple at new year's time) has been to my local shinto shrine - New Year's greetings to my neighbors have become increasingly important as I have become more active in my local community. Equally important spiritually and anthropologically is my annual new year's pilgrimage to Hozanji temple in Ikoma, Nara. I have probably been to this temple over 100 times and have taken thousands of photos there. But there is always something that captures my eye and needs to be recorded. Here is the latest batch.

Here's hoping for a peaceful, happy and successful 2013.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Hozanji Temple 2011: Selected Shots

I suppose technically my hatsumode, or first visit to a shrine or temple at new year's time, was on January 2nd when I visited the local shrines in my neighborhood. But I feel my real hatsumode was yesterday, when I visited Hozanji (宝山寺), a Buddhist temple in Ikoma City, Nara. I have visited this temple for over 15 years now. This is where I purchase ofuda (talisman) to protect my house and juzu (prayer beads). Hozanji is one of the first temples I visited in Japan and I find it to be spectacular. It is quite large and people go there to pray - it is not as much of a tourist attraction as some of the more famous temples in Nara and Kyoto. Even when it is crowded at new year's, one can still find quiet places and enjoy a sense of spirituality. And it is a great place to take photos.

For more information about Hozanji, check out the following links.

Link to Ikoma City Official Homepage:

Link to Hozanji Temple Homepage (in Japanese):

Thursday, October 14, 2010

1300th Anniversary of Nara Heijo-kyo Capital

 The official mascot, Sentokun, welcomes visitors to the event.

 The reconstructed Former Imperial Audience Hall.

Attention to detailed decoration.
People taking pictures with and without flash.
A visitor's self portrait.
Lots of nice and friendly volunteers.
Solanum mammosum is know as nipplefruit in English. In Japanese it is known as キツネ顔 (fox face) and ツノナス (eggplant tree).

Volunteer Japanese Sign Language interpreters.
Link to 1300th Anniversary of Nara Heijo-kyo Capital web page:

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Even if you're not cute, you can make big yen in Japan...

(Image borrowed from Guesthouse Yougendo)

In 2010, Japan will celebrate the 1,300th Anniversary of the Nara Heijo-kyo capital. And what is the best way to do this? Create a cute mascot, of course. But the mascot for this important celebration has committed the ultimate sin in the land of Hello Kitty and Ebi-chan, he isn't cute... With all the controversy of Sento-kun not being cute (where did they go wrong with a little boy Buddhist monk with deer antlers?), he has become quite famous and gained commercial notoriety. According to The Daily Yomiuri, the coverage of his unpopularity has given him a commercial value of 1.5 billion yen. The article concludes by noting the mascot made much less than the new governor of Osaka, Toru Hashimoto. Does this mean the governor is cuter that Sento-kun?

Read the whole story at The Daily Yomiuri On-line:

Link to Unpopular mascot scores 1.5 bil. yen in publicity

Here are some more links for stories about Sento-kun and how unpopular he is...

Link to "Horny" mascot for ancient Nara capital named "Sento-kun"

Link to Mascot of Nara at Guesthouse Yougendo:

Link to New Mascot for Nara Heijo-kyo Anniversary at Tokyomango:

Are we really sure he is not so cute? Or maybe he is growing on us? Some people seem to be having fun with him at YouTube:

Who is to say who or what is cute? Is cuteness static or subject to semiosis? Is Sento-kun pushing the envelope? Is he really such a bad mascot? How would you create a symbol of Nara to celebrate the ancient capital?
(Image borrowed from Mainichi Daily News)