Monday, September 19, 2011

Neglected shrines

Not all shrines are equally well loved. Indeed, the landscape is dotted with Shinto markers that are returning to nature. Sometimes, this return is subtle -- a gentle submission to the force of gravity. In other instances, it can be rather shocking -- Good God! What is that?

On this shrine, one of the katsuogi*, the ornaments on the ridge of the roof is all skew. One wonders if anybody is ever going to be moved to fix it.

* Among the characteristic features of shrine architecture, the ornamentation of the roof with chigi and katsuogi is the most unique and striking to foreign visitors. For the shrine worshipper these add a peculiarly mystic quality to the atmosphere. The chigi were originally formed by an extension of the end beams of the roof which cross at both ends of the ridge and continue upward at an angle for several feet. The short logs, which are now made of finished wood and taper at each end, are called katusogi, because of their resemblance to the shape of the dried fish (katsuo-bushi).
From Shinto the Kami Way by Sokyo Ono

Visit Japan Card - Enjoy yourself in Japan

The Japan Tourism Agency has begun a discount service, presumably for foreign tourists. The Agency has a web page about it with its usual bad translation and oddities like double-byte 'rice mark' asterisks which aren't displayed properly on foreign PCs. The card can be printed, emailed to your iPhone, or downloaded as an Android app. The cards are also being given away at tourist information offices - I picked one up at the information centre in Dogo.

JTB in the UK is sort of giving the impression that the card is sort of exclusive to them, without actually saying say so.

There's a PDF which lists all of the currently affiliated businesses and tourist sites. Ehime has about 25, one of which is the "Kurushima Strait fast flowing stream watching the tide ship". If they had employed a native speaker to translate that, it would have come out differently.

Since there don't seem to be any terms and conditions attached to use of these cards, it will be interesting to see how businesses choose to erm ... discriminate ... between (or against) users. As a resident, will I be allowed to use it? Will my Japanese wife? And my 'half' son? This should be interesting.