Friday, January 21, 2011
A Guessing Game
Walking back from school this morning along the river, I saw this in the empty lot behind a neighbor's house.
Any idea what this is and what's going to happen here?
Guessing Game! I'll come back later (I have to go up to school this morning for Open House to watch my kids' classes and see whether they behave themselves and raise their hands to answer the teacher's questions)....and tell you what it is (if you don't already know).
(...and no fair Mr. Harris telling what it is! Mr. Harris has lived here for over 30 years, I think, and so must content himself with smug satisfaction;-))
I'm home! Did you guess? Oooh--Martin is *very* close! Martin gets a cookie:-))
This lot has been cleared to build a new house. Before building, Shinto priests come and perform a purification ceremony to ward off evil spirits. Shinto rites are very old, and even though most people do this, there's little actual superstition still attached to the rites. It's as though the superstition has evaporated out, leaving the custom behind. The ropes are "Shimenawa", and the papers are "gohei", a custom remaining from the time that the rope and paper were used to demarcate sacred places and keep evil spirits out. Because, who wants evil spirits in a brand new house that doesn't even have toilet rings yet?
I just went by the site, and they've started laying the foundation for the house (took a photo, but it's somewhat unintelligible--I couldn't get very close because of the cement mixer). So since there's no photo of that--have a look at this! Somebody had the foresight to video a purification ceremony and put it up on YouTube! This ceremony is taking place inside the unfinished house: :
Parts 2 and 3 will come up after you watch part 1. Enjoy--Mata asobou, ne!