Thursday, November 03, 2005

Culture Day

Following on from the silly gadget of yesterday, today was the national holiday of "Culture Day". Living in Kamakura, most of the culture is of the ancient Buddhist variety (Kamakura was Japan's capital in the Kamakura Era [1185-1333], and a huge number of temples were built around that time). So we wandered over the hill to Kenchoji, which has its annual "airing of the treasures" on this day. We've seen it before so just had a quick look at this friendly dragon painted on the ceiling of one of the halls (whose eyes seem to follow you round the room) and then headed into town.

November - February is oyster season in Japan, so we had some, fried, for lunch. They don't seem to be eaten raw here much, which is odd considering what else does! There's my plate of deep-fried oysters and assorted side-dishes, all to be washed down with a cold beer. Oishiiii!

Walking home takes us through the grounds of Hachimanguu, Kamakura's main shrine. The "7-5-3" festival is going on around now. At this time of year, boys (5 yo) and girls (7,3 yo) get dressed up in kimonos, taken to shrines by their proud parents, and wished luck by the priest for the coming year. All for a suitable fee, of course. The more you pay, the better your luck.


I've just heard that one of our senior members of staff was yesterday presented with "The Orders of the Sacred Treasure" for services to the nation and public (Dr Ninomiya is a former Director-General of the Japan Meterological Agency). This award is one of the 5 Orders of Culture handed out annually on this day. I will resist the temptation to add any comments about him being brought out for public viewing once a year :-)

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