“Saturday Morning in Okazaki”

Hanafusa Siphon Coffee. Marutamachi-Shirakawa. August 13.

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I place this photo essay back atop letsjapan.wordpress.com on August 1, 2014, almost three (3) years after first posting it on August 2011. In the mean time I’ve published Dancing Over Kyoto (in 2013), but it was August 2012 that an occurrence in Kyoto hit me and rocked others’ worlds. But I won’t speak of that here. I’d rather celebrate a Saturday Morning in Okazaki. . .

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I woke up at Three Sisters Inn this morning with sunlight barreling in from the crest of Higashiyama through my east-facing window.  I answered some emails, made a remark and post or two on Facebook and Twitter, then went out for a stroll.  I lit out, not from Three Sisters Inn Annex, but from the main building, just a block away.  When I stay at Three Sisters I’ve always, to date, stayed at the Annex.  But unfortunately a pipe burst yesterday morning at the Annex so I’m over here at the main building, which is comparable (but the curfew, alas, is 11:00 p.m., not 11:30 p.m. like at the Annex).  Yes, curfew.  The sisters must get their sleep, bless them.

At any rate, my walking route was simple and familiar to me:  up the street from the inn (turning left as I walk out the front door) about two or so minutes to the entrance to Kurodani Dera, stroll around Kurodani, leave out the narrow, back side alleyway and walk to Marutamachi Street.  Take a left and continue east towards Okazaki Shrine.  After stopping by Okazaki Shrine, continue on to Hanfusa for a cup of (siphon) coffee.  Then wind my way back to Three Sisters.

It’s Obon season across Japan, which means in part that families return to their ancestors’ grave sites and give them a cleaning, both real and symbolic (of the respect and veneration still paid to the departed), and place some flowers and other whatnots around the headstone.  This is what was going on this morning at Kurodani Dera’s cemetery.  At Okazaki Shrine some new rabbit figures have been installed.  Part of ancient Okazaki Shrine’s lore and lineage is steeped in being a (Shinto) shrine bringing blessings of easy and happy childbirth to those who come and ask for the blessings of the resident spirits.  Thus the rabbits.  2011 also happens to be the Year of the Rabbit, which makes Okazaki an even more auspicious place to visit.  As I’m a Year-of-the-Rabbit person myself, I took some particular delight in stopping by Okazaki Shrine.

Photos:

Between Three Sisters Inn and the Kurodani entrance. August 13.

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Facing west on the edge of Kurodani. August 13.

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26 Seconds of Cicadas (Semi・セミ) while looking up at Kurodani’s Main Gate (Daimon・大門).

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A long-time friend. August 13.

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Washing an ancestor’s grave site. Kurodani Dera. August 13.

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Okazaki Shrine Digs Rabbits. August 13.

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Have I mentioned that Okazaki Shrine Digs Rabbits? August 13.

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Hanafusa Coffee on Marutamachi Street. August 13.

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Man at bus stop. Woman and child. Marutamachi Street. August 13.

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toMAre. Okazaki. August 13.

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That’s all for now.  It’s about 10:35 and I’ve got a couple places to go.

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