Sunday, January 10, 2010

Meiji Shrine - Memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead

It's coming-of-age day in Japan, apparently a day for everyone who is 20 years old to hike up to the shrine and pray. I figured if there was any day to go see Meiji, it was today.

Mieji Shrine is located in Yoyogi Park, and you can get there by exiting from the Harujuku station. You walk uphill for about half a mile. The shrine is set deep in the magestic and tranquil park.

A lot of young women in very stylish kimonos.

Huuuge trees.

Right after I walked inside the main courtyard, some security men came along and parted all the crowds to either side, and a wedding procession walked through.

At the heart of the shrine, everyone lined up in a huge mass to pray. It's one of those toss-in-a-coin-and-bow/clap-twice shrines. Having studied the procedure somewhat, I lined up with everyone else and tried it. I think I did everything right, except I only clapped once before I prayed. Also, I forgot to take my earphones out, and I forgot to wash my hands (there's a place to wash them before you enter the main courtyard). Does this nullify my prayer? I was so nervous that I couldn't concentrate well anyway.

My prayer was something like, "Dear Japan, if you don't mind I'm going to be living here for a few months, so please guide me in being a respectful visitor, and teach me the secret to your charm and beauty." Aimee Mann's cover of "Two of Us" was playing in my ears. Semi-appropriate.

After leaving the park, I decided to wander around the main alley in Harujuku, and came acorss this small shop that sells merchandise of Japanese boy bands. Below is one of the many walls of ARASHI necklaces.

I have a runny nose, and since it's rude to blow/wipe your nose in public in Japan, I used one of the facemasks I bought. I wore it the entire time I was out, hoping that it would hide my gaijin-ness from at least a passing glance. By the way Sid, I forgot to tell you I stole your glasses-frames.

What do you think? Pass/fail on blending in? I think it worked as far as passers-by, but if anyone got a good look at me they could totally tell.

1 comment:

  1. Huaaargh the wedding has got to be my favorite---I am a sucker for old style japanese shit.

    I got a letter from JET today saying they received my app (which just means that my poor father put it in the right box when I made him drive out to the embassy), so i'm hoping that next year I'll be in your shoes!

    I think its a very thoughtful wish to make; I'm sure the gods heard you.