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January 02, 2006

Hie Jinja - Akasaka

Well, I managed to finish one thing I said I would do this year! I went over to Hie Jinja this afternoon to have a look around. It was not the ideal day - it is very cold and a touch wet - enough so that my fingers are still numb (and that is my excuse for any typing errors you find below).

This is the first thing you see when you come up the escalator.

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That's right, I said escalators. Hie Jinja is on a hill, but more importantly it has generous corporate neighbours and that allows them to upgrade the facilities quite often. There is a woman in my office who used to work in the building next door to the shrine and she told me that employees in her office always went on the first day of the working year and made a donation. So, thanks to her, I could ride in comfort and avoid walking up all the steps. I like this shrine.

I did not stay very long - it was very cold. But I did get myself a calendar (year of the dog!) and a frankfurter for lunch. I know it is not very Japanese, but it was the last stall as I was walking out and I could not resist. Earlier, I was tempted to sit down in the food tent (see below) with some yakitori, but the drinks were so cheap I was worried I would never leave...

This is a picture of the main event - praying. Those long, white/red streamers are attached to bells. You are supposed to ring one, clap your hands and pray. I may have got the order wrong...in any event it did not stop raining, so my requests were not going through.

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And that is pretty much it...except for the food tent (looks good, right?), the bonfire (this is the first year they have blocked it off...it used to be a fire pit), the wall of sake barrels, and the girls selling crepes in cow costumes.

I am pretty sure that last one is not traditional, but I may be wrong. I wish I had a better picture...maybe I DO need to get back to Hie Jinja again. In any case, it was a nice change of pace after the hours I have spent in my apartment this weekend.

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Posted by Kirk on January 2, 2006 03:02 PM