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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 7:32 am 
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For those that aren't on Facebook, I just got back from Japan about a week ago. My family and I have been lucky enough to spend almost a month there spread across two trips in the last year. I've been saving up content to post on my blog that shows some of the weirder places we've visited and the first one posted today.

You can find it here. It's a small temple and shrine in Kappabashi that's dedicated to a group of water monsters. It has the mummified remains of one of their hands on display.

Check it out if you're interested. Each Monday for the next few months, I'll be posting up another one. Next week, it's a shrine I hiked up to on Mt. Misen that has a wood fire that's been kept burning for 1,200 years.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 7:47 am 
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Awesome article Cary! Such an interesting and unique culture!

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:26 am 
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That's why we love it, Kimfair. It's so vastly different from ours and each time we research and understand one thing, it unfolds into fifty more questions. I spent a lot of time this year trying to understand Shinto, but finding a good resource was tough. I finally found one that really taps into the original Shinto beliefs prior to Buddhism coming along and mixing things up. Because of that, I spent more time at shrines than the first time we visited, but I'm only going to cover a couple more of those in the next two weeks. Then I'll move on to some other stuff.

Also, on Thursday I'll be covering the story behind Godzilla which most of you know, however there's a picture of the fishing boat that inspired it in the post. They have a free public museum for it.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:39 am 
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I know that a lot of this stuff is from eons ago, but I've always wondered if the newer weirdness comes from the fact that they are the only culture that has been nuked.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 10:19 am 
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I think that's got to have an effect on your culture. The other thing is that they're not a very open culture. If you move to Japan, you adopt their culture. They don't embrace yours. I think that makes it so these odd beliefs stay relevant longer.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 11:32 am 
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And to build on that a moment, that thing about them not adopting your culture actually has its benefits. It's interesting. I love that America is a melting pot and we have bits and pieces from all over. I love that I can go to different pockets in any major city and be immersed in a different culture.

In Japan, it's all Japanese but that's not necessarily a horrible thing. Japanese culture dictates that people show everyone respect and be helpful. If you're a westerner and you stand and look at your phone in a train station for more than three minutes, people will approach you and ask if you need help. We had this happen on three different occasions this last time and while we didn't need help, it was refreshing. That shit just doesn't happen in L.A. I used to see that kind of helpfulness in the south but haven't experienced it for years.

Also, if you even remotely try to speak their language or understand its written form, the Japanese are very excited and forgiving about you butchering it. Instead of a "you're here, speak our language" mentality, it's more like, "Thanks for trying. We appreciate it. We know a little English so we'll help you out."

Last, even though it is one of the most technologically advanced countries on Earth, there is still a HUGE importance placed on nature, balance, tradition and culture. That's something our society definitely does not have. A great example is in Akihabara, where we generally stay. That's the neighborhood in Tokyo primarily focused on selling electronics and pop culture (anime, etc.). You walk down the street and there are hundreds of shops advertising all the latest and greatest tech. Thousands of people are here, picking up cameras, smart watches, etc.

Where do the locals take this stuff when they're done? Well, some of them take it to a small temple and Shinto shrine nearby to have it blessed. You could even buy charms with blessings that would cover your cell phone, computer and television all in one, and there were people there buying them at 8:00 a.m. Old traditions die hard.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 11:46 am 
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Fascinating.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 1:52 pm 
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caryc wrote:
I think that's got to have an effect on your culture. The other thing is that they're not a very open culture. If you move to Japan, you adopt their culture. They don't embrace yours. I think that makes it so these odd beliefs stay relevant longer.

Except that one time when the Dutch showed up...google Huis Ten Bosch (now a theme park - but it started off as a real town built around the style and culture of Dutch traders in the 1600s).

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 3:14 pm 
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caryc wrote:
In Japan, it's all Japanese but that's not necessarily a horrible thing. Japanese culture dictates that people show everyone respect and be helpful.


Yes.

I really appreciate that people on trains would make sure it's okay with the person behind them before reclining. And having good escalator habits - walkers on one side, people stand on the other. America hasn't figured out you can walk or allow others to walk on escalators yet.

Flip side - I felt like proper shit when someone bowed to me, the motherfucking American, at the Hiroshima memorial.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 3:57 pm 
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brian wrote:
America hasn't figured out you can walk or allow others to walk on escalators yet.

This was one of my biggest gripes when I first moved here. I couldn't understand why people just stopped on escalators, and didn't allow for people to pass them. Makes no sense.

Of course, that mentality carries over to roads, and explains why every idiot just sits in the passing lane, oblivious to the traffic in their rear view mirror.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2018 11:06 am 
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Chris Knight wrote:
caryc wrote:
I think that's got to have an effect on your culture. The other thing is that they're not a very open culture. If you move to Japan, you adopt their culture. They don't embrace yours. I think that makes it so these odd beliefs stay relevant longer.

Except that one time when the Dutch showed up...google Huis Ten Bosch (now a theme park - but it started off as a real town built around the style and culture of Dutch traders in the 1600s).


That looks really fun! We're already plotting to go back eventually. We may need to swing by Nagasaki next time.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2018 11:12 am 
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Kimfair wrote:
Fascinating.


When we were visiting one of the beach towns on this last trip, we walked past a shrine right on the street and it was weird because there was a long paved driveway heading to it. This was on one of two tours we went on so I was able to ask the guide what that was for. She told us it was for "car blessings". You buy a new car, you call the number, a priest meets you there and lets you drive the car up to the small shrine and then they perform a blessing on the car. Like I said, technology meets religion in the weirdest ways there.

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