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On January 2nd 2010 we climbed Mount Shigi in Nara, Japan to celebrate the new astrological year of the tiger and 1300 years of Nara.

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It was in another tiger year that "multitasking" Prince Shotoku Taishi (apparently so intelligent he could understand ten conversations at once), was defending Buddhism against the Mononobe family. Prince Taishi called on Bishamonten, the Buddhist god of war, in the Hour of the Tiger, on the Day of the Tiger. It seemed to work; Taishi prevailed over the Mononobes. He built Shigisan Chogosonsiji Temple -- the tiger shrine -- on Mount Shigi in Bishamonten's honour. We climbed and we climbed, my how we climbed...

(no subject)

Date: 2010-01-02 09:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cap-scaleman.livejournal.com
But the chinese new year isn't until February 14th! That's when the astrological change occur!

(no subject)

Date: 2010-01-03 01:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] imomus.livejournal.com
I said exactly that to Hisae during our climb. But the Japanese, being a sort of bridge culture between East and West, seem to celebrate the Chinese astrological year starting with the Western calendar year.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-01-03 02:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] imomus.livejournal.com
It's very similar, in fact, to what they've done with Indian deity Vaisravana, turning him into Bishamonten!

In other words, "Japan" is a series of deliberate misunderstandings of things which originated in other cultures; "unreliable narrations", if you like. (And my Japanology is an unreliable narration of the operations of that unreliable narration!)

I think this is characteristic of nations with a sea around them. A sea is a kind of filter, a prism, a form of convenient forgetting as well as an import-export medium.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-01-03 05:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] milky-eyes.livejournal.com
this my friend is where my extreme love/baffled/excitement comes from.

A place thats so focused on the smallest of details... and has the same enthusiasm (?) for changing anything that, just, well, can be changed for whatever reason...

blows my mind, and the clincher is, that it's done with a knowing smile... "yes, this is the way it is done, of course it is."

(no subject)

Date: 2010-01-03 07:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cap-scaleman.livejournal.com
I've often been fascinated by the amount of things considered japanese that actually came from China. Like Buddhism, powdered tea and miso for example.

Good thing the sea protected Japan from the Mongols.

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