Sunday 11 November 2012

Unchanging landscapes

Hello again,
After the rather bleak photos in the last post here are some photos taken today of things that don't change. I stopped by at a village on the outskirts of town and then went on to Hachiman Shrine and Kaiseizan Shrine in Koriyama. It's the festival of Shichi-go-san, 7-5-3, when boys and girls of three years of age, boys of five and girls of seven, go to the shrine to give thanks and pray for health and happiness. I've never really known why it's this way, but on the radio the other day a Shinto priest explained the origins. According to him, in the old days both girls and boys gave up their short haircuts at the age of three and were allowed to grow their hair long. Five was the age boys wore formal hakama trousers for the first time. And when they turned seven, girls put on the obi, the stiff kimono belt, for the first time in place of a child's sash. The milestones in a child's life are different these days - first day at school, learning to ride a bike - but parents' wishes for their children's happiness don't change and it was good to see so many people out enjoying the day.

The harvest safely gathered in. Abandoned scarecrow.

Farm store with keyaki, (zelkova serrata). It's Fukushima prefecture's tree, often planted
next to farmhouses and magnificent when allowed to grow to full height.

Farmhouse with persimmon tree and zelkova.  People are picking
(and eating) persimmons this year.

Couldn't resist photographing this sign put up (yonks ago) by the local youth development
committee:  'A little self denial is character forming' (Chiisa na gaman wa kokoro o kitaeru).
The storehouse still suffering earthquake damage.

Five year old with Grandad at Hachiman Shrine.

Three year old girl - so cute - and there are bells in her shoes.

Kaiseizan Shrine

I just love the 7-year old girl's outfit. She's wearing 'hakama'  trousers over her
kimono, like the  female students of old. She looks like she's in charge.


  1. They look amazing! kawaii Reiko x

  2. A friend e-mailed with me this other explanation for the Shichi-go-san festival. He heard that there was high mortality among girls at age 3, and among boys at age 5. So parents took them to shrines to pray for health. If a child reached 7, he/she was likely to survive to adulthood and procreate. That's why the seventh day of the seventh month is Tanabata, an astronomical event that coincides with a story of lovers meeting.
    Any one any more ideas?