The Celebration of 7, 5, 3 at Hokkaido Shrine

Let me quote wikipedia entries on 7.5.3 celebration.
…Except for academic writing, quoting information on wikipedia is an accepted practice, isn’t it?

    “Seven-Five-Three” is a traditional rite of passage and festival day in Japan for three- and seven-year-old girls and three- and five-year-old boys, held annually on November 15.

    It is said to have originated in the Heian Period amongst court nobles who would celebrate the passage of their children into middle childhood. The ages three, five and seven are consistent with Japanese numerology, which dictates that odd numbers are lucky.
    Over time, this tradition passed to the samurai class who added a number of rituals. By the Meiji Period, the practice was adopted amongst commoners as well, and included the modern ritual of visiting a shrine to drive out evil spirits and wish for a long healthy life.

In Hokkaido, instead of NOvember 15, October 15 is 7ー5ー3 celebration day.
But it’s OK to come anytime around October 15th.

So on October 8, one week before, as the weather was very nice, many parents took their children to Hokkaido Shrine.

There is a 7.5.3 Festival sign at the entrance.

Wow! I have never seen so many people qeueing in front of this tea shop.
Qeueing to be seated and have a cup of tea and cookie for free??
I think, people just enjoy staying longer in the Shrine.

Look, there were even stalls that sell cootton candy, light snacks and toys.

The children are all dressed up in thier kimono ( or Halama for boys).

First, everybody have to clearn thier mouth and hands at the water fountain.

Oh, the famous old judge Mr. Shima is even smiling.

After paying the fee, the families sit inside the prayer hall and get blessed by the priests.
When it’s over, chidren get a big flat candy called chitoseame, (literally translated- thousand year old candy)in the hope they live as long as one thousand year. (… impossible!)
But that what every parent hope for their kids all over the world in any era.

There are so many happy faces!!
All over the Shrine compound people are taking pictures.

Some parents took thoer child for 100 day’s blessing.

Some took their new cars to get blessed.

Some people are wishing good luck in their lives.

Some are reading a written oracle hoping to have a good luck in their lives.

So many hopes and wishes of so many people at Hokkaido Shrine on October 8th,2011.


Sapporo Autumn Festival (2)

In Block 4, I found my friend working at the information booth.
We talked and talked and talked, mostly not nice things about a writer we both know well.
It’s so much fun to gossip! Don’t pretend to be a saint!

Anyway, we finally said good byes and I walked around Block 5 and met other friends.
Wow, this festival is quite popular with my friends.

Next Block 6
This is my favorite area in this park because there are lots of trees that give the relaxing atmosphere.
There are several international food booths.
I might want to try some of them.

My favorite spanish rice dish paella.

Indian curry

Turkish kabab

Danish dishes

All looked very good and interesting.

In Block 7 wine and alcoholic drinks are featured.

In Block 8
This block is very interesting.

There are many smaller booths operated by people from small rural towns.
There are more middle aged amatuer( probably)vendors and cooks.

There are aslo farmers’ markets and various local dishes are sold here for cheaper prices.

The next time I come I will come directly to Block 8 and order some fresh sea-foods.

When I told my impression to my daughter, she agrred with me
— and added that she had already eaten in Block 8 twice and coming back next Monday!

This festival is reeeeally popular!

Sapporo Autumn Festival

At Sapporo Odori Park, the Autumn Festival has been held.

All my friends said,” Oh, The site is tooo crowded. Don’t go! There are too long lines at every shops!”

Well, I was curious but I didn’t go to the festival until today.

Today, it was a weekday( good!) and raining (better) and very cold(perfect!)
So I went out a littel bit earlier for my appointment and took a look at the festival.
I regreted that I had a big lunch.
Anyway, my walk started at Odori 1

The sky was very dark. I was thinking that there would be fewer people at the festival.

Odori 2

Odori 3

This is a popular corn vender. A bad business day?

The Festival site is between block 4 and block 8

Odori Block 4

At the Information center, dressed-up squashes welcome you!

This is where you get the information and light snacks as well as local artists’ works.

The Festival site was not at all crowded.
–rather it looked like it was deserted…
I was right! But maybe I should have come during the weekend? To experience the festive mod of the festival?

This is the strating point of the festival.
… to be continued…..

Lavenders in Sapporo

Did you know that the first lavender in Hokkaido was grown in Sapporo?
People just associate lavenders with Frano without even thinking.

Wait a minutes!

The first lavenders were grown in an experiment farm in Sapporo.
The original farm no longer exists and on the land now stands the Sapporo Campus of Tokai University.
The University have recreated a lavender garden in their campus.
The garden is open to the public during the flower season.

The original lavenders are relocated here and some others were given by Mr. Tomita, the owner of Tomita Farm in Furano.
Okanurasaki, the original plant.

English lavender Hidecourt

Yes, the University is on a hill and in a residential area.
So there are always people stroling.

Summer has arrived to the north beach — in Rumoi

Rumoi is a small port city facing the Sea of Japan.
The coastline around Rumoi is beautiful and is also known for the high sea waves.

People say the sea waves off Rumoi is one of the three highest in Japan?? or in the wrold???
Yes, indeed
The waves are rough and raging during winter.

But not in summer! Look at the blue sky and the quiet sea.

Peole enjoy crab fishing!

Actually the crabs are so tiny you cannot eat them so they are just having fun.
I used to catch dozens of crabs here.

There were some sea creatures depicted on the pavement.
Look! I loved them all! They are very well done, aren’t they?

A Day Trip to Furano

At a tiny alley of artcraft shops in the forest…

There are owls carved in some of these stones.
Can you find them?

Yes, here’s one!

On Thursday, I made a trip to Frano to see lavenders.

And to eat delicious lavender flavored ice cream.

Jyomon Culture- A 3,000 yera Old Mystery

The Jyomon Culture in Japan began approximately 15,000 years ago. It coincide with the NEolithic Period of world history.
It was one of the most affluenct hunter-gather cultures.
It lasted for over a 10.,000 year period.
Few changes were made dring this long period.
People lived by hunting, gathering and fishing and did small scale farming.
They lived sustainably in harmony with nature. They created beautiful pots, combs, necklaces, fishing gear, and many other artifacts for religious purposes.
The patterns on the clay pots by braided straws is one of the features of this culture.
They also had highly developed technics in lacquare ware making.
It is believed they had traded with Russia, China and the tribes on other islands in Japan.
But not much has been proved.

Jyomon culture spread all over Japan but after rice cultivation became wide spread around BC3,000, it disppeared from the most areas.
But rice cultivation didn’t take hold on HOkkaido, because of it cold climate.
So Jyomon Culture gradually assimilated into the Ainu Culture or based on Jyomon Culture the Ainu Culture was established.
There have been heated debates about this topic.

Now Japanese Government has been seeking to have the JYomon sites in HOkakido and Tohoku designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
There are 7,000 such sites in Hokkaido alone.
I visited a history museum in Eniwa.
Let me show you some photos.
This is the museum building from outside.

There are many combs lacquared with red bengara.

Those combs were found from inside collective tombs.
They found that only females were buried together up to 8 in one tomb.
They all dressed up wearing lots of hair combs, necklaces, blacelets and ornamental belts.

This is how they speculate the bodies were placed.

When the excavation was done, they had to dig up the tombs with the surrounding layers of the earth.
And did the research in a lab.

There are so many jewelries found on the bodies, these tombs are called the most gorgeous tombs in the Jyomon Era.

This picture depicts how the researchers thing JYomon people wore hair combs.