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Friday 28 November 2008

My First Experience of Matsuri in Japan

When I first visited the Sensoji Temple of Asakusa in Tokyo, I was lucky to be there on the weekend that one of the three big festivals in Tokyo was held. It is called the Sanja Matsuri and it is normally held on a weekend in mid May, and I happened to be there this year on 17th May.

On the way to the temple through the forever busy shopping street Nakamise, I saw a Japanese monk on the street seeking for donation from the passersby.


There were also temporary stages set up along the way to the temple where performers offered their music to the deities.


The temple was closed to the public due to the procession going on. All the spectators had to stand at a distance away from where the procession was held. Being one of the three main festivals in Japan, the whole place was filled with locals and tourists.


I had a hard time getting myself through to witness the procession. I was literally shoulder to shoulder with the other spectators.


During this day, all the deities from other temples were brought out on Mikoshi (palanquins).


Each Mikoshi is carried by a group of people, on their shoulders, males and females alike.


This is the only time of the year that the deities get to leave the temple. It is the only holiday for the deities when they are carried around on their Mikoshi to roam the streets.


Each Mikoshi is elaborately decorated. Most of them have a phoenix statue on top. Gold seems to be the dominant colour in decorating a Mikoshi.


As I was witnessing the procession, I was also pushed around by the Mikoshi carriers and the spectators. Be prepared to be pushed back and forth by the crowd if you are going for it.


I got too carried away in taking photographs that I didn't even know I dropped my Lonely Planet travel guide on Tokyo that Marlene passed to me when she left Japan. I lost my Tokyo city map together with it too.


However, I didn't lose my way home without the travel guide and city map. I picked up another copy of the travel guide at the bookshop near the train station before heading home. Maybe it was fated for me to pay for that travel guide.

Wednesday 26 November 2008

Wordless Wednesday – Catwalk on the Street













Location: Takeshita Dori, Harajuku, Tokyo, Japan
Date taken: August 10th, 2008
Camera equipment: Nikon D300 + Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8D

Monday 24 November 2008

An Orb Weaver

Bull's horn spider, Gasteracantha arcuata has the largest abdominal thorns among the kite spiders. The long horns curving upward from the "shoulder" of the abdomen can be several times as long as the body.

It is a type of orb weaver that weaves a perfect structure of orb webs, by which the common name is given to this species. Its web is large in relation to its body, often adorned near the centre with a few tufts of fluffy white silk.

We found this colourful little creature at Jambusan during our second photography outing there, so we started to make it pose for us while we kept on firing our shutter and flashlights.

Probably it was too annoyed by our illumination that it started to hang itself upside down. However, we still kept on firing our flashlights.

It finally gave up on escaping from our flashlights and started to pose for our cameras. It was such a natural poser!

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