Manga drawings at Kanda Myōjin

Kanda Myōjin is near Akihabara, the centre of manga/anime culture in Tokyo. It attracts many fans as well as wannabe artists, who leave ema (wooden votive tablets) expressing their wishes at the shrine. The messages range from simple wishes for happiness in the year ahead (I took these photos in February) to very specific wishes for success as a manga artist or, in some quirky cases, happiness for a manga character!

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A boundary between worlds

This rope is called a shimenawa (注連縄 or “enclosing rope”), and it’s used to mark the boundary between the sacred and the profane at a shrine, temple or ritual site. This particular one is at Kawasaki Daishi, and it’s part of the temple’s decorations for its New Year celebrations.


Repent, Japan! You worship trees!

This morning I had the misfortune of clicking on a link entitled “Japanese tree worshippers”. That’s what I am: I love trees, and I believe any human being who fells a centuries-old tree should suffer at the very least the amputation of an arm.

Japan has been hyper-aware of trees in the last few days, because it’s the tail-end of the cherry blossom season. Tokyo was covered in popcorn trees until a few days ago.

So I clicked. Would that I’d never done that. It’s a lunatic who thunders that the Japenese are sinners who worship trees instead of the one true god, that Japan should repent, that the one true god is a vengeful god yadda yadda yadda.

My message to the one true disciple of the one true god: while you indulge in hatred, condemnation and ignorance, I’ll go sit underneath a cherry tree and thank Japan’s 8 million gods for the beauty they’ve given us.

Perhaps I should send a tweet to @TheTweetOfGod and ask him if he’d like to join me. I suspect he might appreciate the invitation, especially if I tell him there will be champagne.