Ofudamaki was established in 1688 when mothers gave their clothes to male Shinto dancers in the hope of bringing them protection from cholera. My latest piece for DAZED is now online, talking about Ofudamaki, an obscure festival held once a year in a nondescript area 50 km from Tokyo. Check it out here.
Categories: Bizarre/Unique, Tokyo Days, Uncategorized • Tags: asia, blog, cross dressing, culture, design, female, festival, gender roles, japan, japanese, justin egli, male, matsuri, ofudamaki, photography, religion, shinto, tokyo, travel, urban
YUSHIMA / 湯島 Last Sunday I made my way out to Yushima in east Tokyo – a station one stop from Nezu on the Chiyoda line, not far from Ueno Park. Yushima Tenjin (or Yushima Tenmangu) is Tokyo’s most famous shrine of scholars, and is therefore visited by students all over the city who come to pray for good exam results. Inside the grounds you can see hundreds of ema – small wooden plaques – written by students hoping for entry to the university of their […]
Categories: Art Music & Culture, Tokyo Days • Tags: asia, blog, design, festival, food, ikimasho, japan, japanese, matsuri, photo essay, photography, shinto, summer, Tenjin, tokyo, travel, ueno, video, Yushima
Purification of the sea. Getting wet at the annual Hamaorisai Sea Festival in Chigasaki. Once a year in July thousands of people gather at sunrise at the fishing port of Chigasaki to join the Hamaorisai Matsuri – one of Japan’s most vivid spectacles. Dating back to back the ninth year of Tempo (1839), this annual festival is believed to have started when the sacred palanquin of Samukawa Shrine was carried away and lost in the Banyu River on the way back from the Kokuhu Festival. The palanquin later reappeared […]
Considering becoming a corpse in Japan? Here’s a convenient place to park your body. Dying is pretty low down on most people’s list of priorities. Let’s face it, it’s not much fun and everyone is running around crying and stuff. It’s not a happy occasion. Saying that, it happens to us all – and undertakers will never be out of business. There are graveyards scattered all over Tokyo. I pass one particular one on my way to work some days […]
Categories: Art Music & Culture, Bizarre/Unique, Tokyo Days • Tags: asia, bizarre, burial, corpse, culture, dead, death, festival, funeral, guidebook, inaka, japan, religion, shinto, shrine, south east asia, tokyo, travel, urban, weird
Teaching purity and peace, for one day only. The Shinto shrine that shares its grounds with a kindergarten. On Tuesday I am the guy on call. If someone gets sick, I get a phonecall. On Monday night it came at 9pm, the apologetic voice of my boss asking (telling) me to go sub at a school Id never been to before the next day. After initially declaring him a bastard, I soon warmed to the idea when I realised it’d […]