toss

First step, toss your old rake in this big pile

recycle_kumade_tori_no_ichi_hanazono 始めに、去年の熊手をここに投げています。そこ大きい熊手は高かったそうです。 Last year’s rake must have cost hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. That’s the price of good luck. pile_recycle_kumade_tori_no_ichi_hanazono

Summer omatsuri festivals invite spirits to commercial areas

Starting in May, summer omatsuri festivals are a public celebration of the local gods that exist in even the densest, most commercial parts of Tokyo. One of my favorite festivals is at Hanazono Shrine, in between Shinjuku san-chome, Kabukicho, and Shinjuku ni-chome, an area of department stores, fast fashion, a station with more than 2 million daily commuters, nightclubs, host clubs, and gay bars.

Above you can see a temporary shrine being constructed with metal poles, bamboo, and paper symbols outside Isetan’s flagship department store.

The festival brings together long-time residents, small business owners, and even the large commercial enterprises. The above photo shows a small neighborhood shrine, where I had previously noticed seniors playing a ring toss game. When I visited during preparations, the old timers invited me to participate in carrying their portable shrine (see below) around the neighborhood and to the main shrine. Knowing how heavy the shrine is, I politely declined.