Monday, January 5, 2009

Meiji Shrine and Harajuku

This is the Meiji Shrine. One of the largest in Japan, and quite popular. One of it's most notable features is it's HUGE gates. There are several, and each was obviously the final resting place for some truly epic pines. Even the locals pause and take a pic. The shrine is actually rather sprawling and a fair walk into the large Yoyogi park. The path is wide and was full of foreign tourist, as well as the locals.

These are cask of sake, each emblazoned with the brewer and donor. I believe these are just for an offering, and never get drinken, but some sects of buddism know how to party, so who knows where last years stock ends up.

Here we have an equally impressive line up, and this is hardly half! these are lanterns with the names of families who donated to the shrine. The temples are well funded here it seems, as usual daily prayer also involves dropping coins into the temple box.The shrine was preparing for the new years holiday, the biggest holiday in Japan. There were huge lines of booths set up to sell good luck trinkets and prayers for hanging, traditional new years shwag (a wooden arrow has some symbolism, thus the target on the gate), food, incense, and whatever else the lined up parisioners will need. They were covering the stairs with mats to make them ramps and ease the passing of people. It seemed rather rediculous in this huge shrine to do such a thing, but the crowds are truly huge I guess. The large panels with cows are because it's the Year of the Cow (I think we usually call it "The Year of the Ox".)

The park grounds are beautiful and rather peaceful, despite the crowds. We walked only a small corner of the park, but it was lush and dense. A little different from Colorado.

As we return to civilization, and cross the bridge out of the park a number of people are gathered. Selling paintings, playing guitar, and posing for pics with foreign tourist.

We went to Harajuku on a Sunday, as I'm told all the cool people do. But the cool kids in neat clothes were a little sparse. We were told it's because of the holiday, everyone so busy preparing they couldn't go cosplay in the park.We did see mister Gay Bunny Man, a little scary actually.

This is one of the super crowded streets carrying all manner of fashion goods, each catering to a different crowd or look.Though, I didn't see any places to pick up this guys outfit...And of course a shop with shirts that came right off the scary world of the internet. Pedobear -vs- Ronald, and the sadness of anthropomorphy. This shop also had tons of reprint rock concert shirts. The slightly tattered originals were quite the rage at the near-by thrift shops. 150$ for an old Slayer shirt anyone?

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