Archive for the ‘shinto’ Category

New Year’s volunteering: 01-02-2014

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

We had less help for the second day of the big New Years festival, but that’s okay, it was a lot slower.  At no point did we run out of parking or have traffic backed up onto the road.  (more…)

New Year’s volunteering: 01-01-2014

Sunday, January 5th, 2014

New Year’s Day.  The big event at the shrine, and we were ready.  We started early, did misogi, Chouhai, and then opened the gates.  The floodgates, even. (more…)

New Year’s volunteering: 2013-12-31 night

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

After our break, we all went back down to the shrine.  Not much was left to be done, but to stock the outdoor shop and open the gates.

The night was cool, but not too cold.  Above freezing.  At dusk, a heavy fog rolled in, blanketing the night in obscuring wetness.  We couldn’t see across the street – the torii gate was hidden, but the bright lamp behind it was visible – but we could see up to the stars.

I went up to the parking lot with Jim-san, Nate-san, and Jackson, and we parked cars.  In the damp dark.  The damp, noisy dark, as the shrine’s neighbors were having way too much fun with fireworks and guns.  The area sounded like a war zone from dark until nearly 2:00am.  We saw a few really nice fireworks arc into the sky, lighting up the fog, but there was a lot of banging that clearly wasn’t firecrackers.

The big flashlight and the reflective vest paid off, and worked excellently.

The people that come to the midnight ceremony are all pretty serious.  I don’t recall any little kids.  Many people were dressed up very nicely for this special occasion.

People arrived early, and from 11:15pm until midnight it was pretty busy.  We had a lull during the ceremony, and then stayed and made sure everyone got out okay.  It was so dark it seemed like a good idea.

If I counted right, we had about sixty cars, and none had only one person in them.  Probably between 120 and 150 people.  Not bad for the midnight ceremony.

By 1:30, we were done, and by 2:00am I think everyone had crashed.

Tomorrow would be the big day.

New Year’s volunteering: 2013-12-31 06:09

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Today is a big day.  Finish setup, clean everything, and get ready for the first batch of visitors at the midnight ceremony. (more…)

New Year’s volunteering: 2013-12-30

Monday, December 30th, 2013

Lots of cleaning, setting up tents, moving the firewood, a little raking, and an embarrassing mishap.  Tired, and my feet are worn out.

New Year’s eve volunteering: 2012-12-29

Monday, December 30th, 2013

Didn’t blog yesterday.  Fell over instead.  Second long day of physical exercise in a row.  Mostly raking.

Neg Year’s volunteering: 2013-12-28

Saturday, December 28th, 2013

I arrived shortly after noon today.  The sky was heavily overcast, and the temperature mild, around 45F.
I paid proper respects, and then knocked at the front door.  Rev. Barrish was pleased to see me, as was another volunteer, Steve.  I was given a key to Kaikan, their guest lodge.  Rev. Barrish told me I have a room of my own, which is unexpected and pleasant.

Volunteering Again — Why?

Friday, December 27th, 2013

Last year I spent three days working hard as a volunteer at the Tsubaki Grand Shrine of America‘s New Years festival.  It was a ton of work.  And yet, I’m going back this year, for even longer.  I’ll talk about why. (more…)

New Years Vignettes

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

While I volunteered to help Tsubaki America with their New Years festival, I got to talk to a lot of people and see their reactions.  Some of them stuck with me, all of them good.  Here they are. (more…)

New Year Misogi

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

While I volunteered at the Tsubaki America New Years event, I was offered the chance to perform Misogi with Rev. Barrish and some of the other volunteers.  At 6:00am on 1 January some of us went down to the river and performed misogi.

Rev. Barrish has a description of misogi on the Tsubaki America page, and John D. has a description of his experience in Japan on his Green Shinto blog.  Both of those show misogi in the summer.  The Pilchuck river was cold.