11 February, 2007

Sunset in the Mt. Fuji / from the observation room of Bunkyo City Center

Last year, I introduced the Bukyo City Center in the posting regarding "Konnyaku Enma" and "Korakuen ball park". (Don't you remember? Please check the previous posting Jan. and May 2006 . ) This is a sunset view from the observation room of the Center. You can see the beautiful silhouette of the Mt Fuji clearly. It's amaging.

Twin towers in front of Mt Fuji is the building of Tokyo Metropolitan Government which located in Shinjuku.

Bunkyo City Center: It includes concert halls, exhibition room and Bunkyo ward office. The observation room is on 25th floor. You can get the Center directly from Korakuen station of Tokyo Metro (Marunouchi & Nanboku line.) or Kasuga station of Toei Subway(Mita line).

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10 February, 2007

Setsubun (Feb.3rd) / Kagurazaka

February 3rd is Setsubun, the day celebrating the end of winter (by the lunar calendar).
Temples hold the "Mamemaki(bean throwing)" ceremony in the day. A lot of people join it because the people who can catch the thrown beans is believed to be able to get a great fortune.

We went to Kagurazaka Bishamonten Zenkokuji Temple to enjoy the mamemaki ceremony. When we arrived there(15 min before the ceremony start) , there were a huge amount of people who had been waiting the opening of the ceremony. Oops, it was too late to get there. We couldn't get into the temple yard but could keep a position where we could see what going on inside the temple yard.

At 1st, Okagura were performed. They performed shishimai(Lion dance; please visit my friend Kazu's blog that explain what Shishimai is.)

and jugglery

and Ebisumai(the dance of Ebisu).

Ebisu, one of Japanese gods and the symbol of happiness(right), sing and dance with Daikoku, another symbol of happiness(left).
The aim of okagura is dedication to gods but, as you can imagine, that became one of few indulgences of ancient public.

Then, Mamemaki was starting.

People who were born in the year of the boar* threw the pouches of roasted soybeans,,, it's too far to get the beans!!
* Boar: the Chinese zodiac of 2007. Men / Women who were born in that year's zodiac were called Toshiotoko / Toshionna. Actually, in China, Korea or the other area of Asia, this year's zodiac is Pig. When this custom imported into Japan, pig was not popular in Japan because most of Japanese people hadn't eaten meat (except for fish meat) and even hadn't seen pigs. So pig was translated into wild boar which was more popular in Japan. Interesting, isn't it?

Instead of the thrown beans, we bought the pack of beans at the supermarket in my neiboughood. When I was a kid, in the Setubun days, we were scattering beans from the window and shouting the magic words "Oni wa soto!" (Devils, go away!). The good memory of Setsubun. Regrettably, we can't do that because now we are living in the condo. Instead of that we ate the same number of beans as our ages; it is also believed as the charm of health and wealth.
I found Kazu has posted an article "mamemaki at home" on his weblog. They were having fun!
Did you enjoy mamemaki at home?

Kagurazaka: Tiny and cozy street. There are many good shops and restaurants. Kagurazaka was also famous for Geisha. Even now, you can find some Geishas in the ceremony like Setsubun.
The closest station is Iidabashi(JR:Chuo-line / Metro:Nanboku-line).

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