Friday, January 14, 2011

Kyoto 10/1/11

t has been a bit hard to update the blog because of a lack of internet access. We had a house to our selves in Kyoto which was great but the internet either wasn't working or when it did work the whole family seemed to get there before me. Anway, now I'll do a bit of a catch up.
We travelled down from Matsumoto to Kyoto and moved away from the snow on the ground but it was still freezing in Kyoto and it did snow on oe of the days although it didn't settle.

One of the highlights of our week in Kyoto was Seijin-no-to, which is 'Coming of Age day' when 20 year olds dress up on kimono for women and traditional outfits or suits for the men. (20 is the age when you can legally drink alcohol and smoke cigarrettes). The women appeared incredibly overdressed and were wearing heaps of makeup, hair extensions, fake fox furs, incredibly bright kimono with furisode sleeves (very long). It reminded me of NZ girls dressed for the school formal.
It was interesting to see them all dressed up in traditional clothes with a ciggie in one hand and talking into the cellphone with the other hand. By the end of the night there were loads or rather 'trashed' 20 year olds all over Kyoto.

The same day, our Japanese friends took us to a shrine in Osaka which is dedicated to the god of commerce - Ebisu. People were being given branches of bamboo then buying charms to hang on the branches. We got swept along with the crowds but didn't managed to get too near the money collection point or the branches. We had to throw our money into the collecting  box over peoples heads!
Above you can see someone with one of the branches getting ready to buy charms to hang on it. The lanterns have pictures of the God Ebisu, my friend says Ebisu, God of Commerce (only in Osaka :-) has poor hearing so you have to shout hard to get his attention.

So many people! About the population of New Zealand goes through this temple during the 3 days of the festival

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