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八雲立つ 出雲八重垣 妻籠に 八重垣作れる その八重垣を

”Yagumotatsu Izumo  yaegaki  tsumagomini  yaegakitsukureru sono  yaegakio”
This is the Japanese oldest 31-syllable Japanese poem (waka: 和歌) written by  Susanono Mikoto.

This is a summary of this poetry by me.

“This country named Izumo where many  clouds well up  magnificently.
At this Izumo, for my beloved newly-married woman  I build a house that has the  fences with many layers to protect her, just like  many clouds protect the house. And I  protect her forever.”

 

” 大和は 国のまほろば 絶たなづく 青垣山籠れる 大和しうるはし

“Yamatowa Kunino mahoroba tatanazuku  Aogaki yamakomoreru Yamatoshi uruwashi”

This is one poem in the  description of folk history “Kojiki” (the Records of Ancient Matters), written by Yamato Takeruno Mikoto one of  the  princes of the Keiko Emperor.
A legend says, he died by illness, and then changed the figure to a swan and flew in the sky.

This is a summary of this poetry by me.

“Yamato is a mother country, my hometown.
The ranges of the calm-shaped mountains I love.
The majestic mountains ranges that form the fences that shine in bright green are there.
Yamato surrounded by the wonderful mountains is a really beautiful  country.
I love my hometown Yamato,  I’d like to be home.”

The Keiko Emperor of his father always commanded him to go for the conquest of the traitor far and wide for unification in Japan.He continued a wonderful heroic fight and really repeated victory.
However, the Emperor of his father continued ordering without giving him rest.
He fell illness in the trip of a long fight at last. And he reached death with the hometown close at hand.
At that time, it was that!! this poetry was written.
The thought to the hometown overflows.
How would he like his thought to father,,,?
If there was not his activity, this present Japan will never exist.
His soul sleeps in the ancient tomb near 白鳥庭園:the Swan Garden (near Atsuta-Jingu).

さなさし 相模の小野に

燃ゆる火の 火中(ほなか)に立ちて

問ひし君はも

弟橘媛

Sanasashi Sagamuno Ononi

Moyuruhino Honakani tachite

tohishi kimihamo

by Ototachibana-hime

Yamato takeru was about to cross the ocean in front of his eyes, to Kamakura, in order to conquer the enemy.

But it ran high so much. Then, his wife, Ototachibana-hime thought that the anger of God of the sea caused this storm. So she in order to quell the anger, she decided to offer her own body as a human sacrifice to the god. Then she jumped into the sea while her turning around to glance him with a smile. The sea became calm immediately, and he was able to sail across the sea by a ship.

A few years before this tragedy, he was taking a walk with her in the field

of Sagamu (Sagami:相模). She took a look some beautiful flowers and wanted to pick up them, then left him for a short time. Suddenly some enemy surrounded them and the enemy set the grass of the field on fire. Then the fire also began to surround them. Then he kept to look for her calling and calling out by name. At last, he found her and endeavored to escape danger while taking her hand, but the force of the fire was getting stronger and stronger. Then he decided to use The Sword:kusanagino-tsurugi (草薙の剣) in order to cut the grass surrounding them, and cut and cut them. And then they could escape danger.

The sword was the special one that Susano no Mikoto ( the younger brother of Amaterasu Omikami, and an ancestor of Yamato-Takeru no Mikoto) had found in the body of Yamatano Orochi ( The dragon that had eight heads and was conquered by Susano no Mikoto at Izumo).

That sword had been what it became one of the three sacred treasures after.

The following is a statement I translated.

あなたは あの相模の野の 燃える火の中で

私の名を呼んで 探して下さった

愛するあなたのためですもの、、、

In the fire of that field of Sagami,

While calling my name out, you looked for me desperately

Because my love is love for you, there’s nothing regrettable, even sad.

I pray for your continued luck in the fortunes of war.

May God protect you!

 

tenaga       ashinaga

手長(Tenaga : Tenazuchino-mikoto), 足長(Ashinaga : Ashinazuchino-mikoto)   Tenaga is a woman who has  long arms.  Ashinaga is a man
who has long legs. You can see and enjoy these statues on a Kajibashi bridge.  These photos are presented by Hiro on Hidatakayama-Kanko-Navi.
They are husband and wife, Ashinazuchi is her husband and Tenazuchiis his wife. Please refer to the mythology of this page in which I have described about Susanono-mikoto. Susanono-mikoto, he met an old couple around the river bank of the Izumo country (出雲の国)by chance.
He saw chopsticks flowed from the upper reaches and noticed that a person lived in this area of upper reaches. Because they were extremely disappointing and crying, he asked the reason,
 
They told him they had to dedicate one by one of their own daughters as a human sacrifice every year to the big snake which had eight heads. A time to give Sakunada-hime of that only daughter to at last had come over that year. The fact was sad,,,.
He listened to it and decided to kill the big snake and exterminated it, and married her.
So, Ashinazuchino-mikoto, Tenazuchino-mikoto are father-in-law mother of Susanono-mikoto.

 

 

 

Here I will introduce two websites which explain about Japanese culture in detail in English.
1. Index on Japan
2. Key Aspects of Japan
 Please fully enjoy them.
Both are sleeve notes by Yoichi Sugiura & John K. Giollespie.

 I think almost of you may not know the difference between Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples .
This difference explains a Japanese wonderful religious sense.
Religious beliefs of the Japanese people can be divided into two.
One of the two is the Shintoism faith, the other is Buddhist faith.
Here, I will continue to provide an explanation about these two.
First of all, let’s look at the differences in appearance.

Shinto shrines:

jinja1       jija2

Buddhist temples:

tera1   tera2

First, I need to explain the Shintoism faith of Japanese people to you.
In the mythology of Japan, 天御中主大神 Ameno-Minakanushino-Ohomikami (a God) created a universe,  and ten thousands of years passed, a God伊耶那岐大神Izanagino-Ohomikami  and a goddess伊耶那美大神Izanamino-Ohomikami of the descendant of 天御中主大神 cooperated and created a country that is called Toyoashiharano-kuni (Japan) on the face of the Earth.
They created the various gods of Nature.
Then, God created further many Gods to Nature. This is a beginning of Japan.

After that, 天照大御神 Amaterasu-Ohomikami(a goddess) who is a descendant of the God,
dispatched 瓊瓊杵尊 Ninigino-Mikoto of her own grandson to Japan from the heaven,
in order to make him govern Japan.
And Gods created many Gods in Nature.
Japanese believe that God is alive in each mountain, the ocean, the river, the flower,
and also in each Nature.

Therefore, Japanese people have worshipped as an object of veneration of the sun,
the moon,  and a mountain from ancient times. And above-mentioned 天照大御神 Amaterasu-Ohomikami is worshipped  as the “sun” herself, and Ninigino-Mikoto who is her grandchild was the first God that governed Japan.
And then the first Emperor who was the direct descent was Jinmu-tenno (Jinmu-Emperor).
The Tenno system follows even the present age by one system from the time of a myth.
By this fact, the Emperor has been continuing being worshipped for a long time.
The reason why the Emperor continues being admired in the history for a long time incessantly in this way  by a Japanese is not only because it is continuation of simple long time.
That is because the Emperor has continued praying for Japanese happiness and global peace in any times.
You can see the fact in some of solemn ceremonies that have been continued by only
the Emperor for a long time  for the prayer for God.
On the early morning of the New Year’s Day, all the past Emperors have continued
the prayer called Shihohai,  for the long time of 1400 years.
It is a solemn ceremony which only the Emperor can hold, and he kneels on the ground and prays to God on all sides.
He wishes for global peace, the Japanese’s happiness, and health there.
罪あらば我を咎めよ天津神民は我が身の生みし子なれば
“Tsumiaraba warewoagameyo amatsukami tamihawagamino umishikonareba”
written by Meiji Emperor.

Although it is impolite, I’ve translated this poetry.
God! Blame me without blaming him even if he committed a crime.
Because everyone of this nation is my dear precious child whom I gave birth.

Furthermore, even today the Emperor family continues doing the farming that a Japanese carries  out for a long time in daily life, such as rice planting, rice-reaping
and the sericulture.
Such a deed of the Emperor family’s every day is a big and deep reason for continuing
making Japanese people love and worship the Emperor.

As I described above, this Tenno imperial family is a family line which has continued
by one system  from the time of the myth also for thousands years.
And such a sacred existence of the family is also the big reason the Emperor family is worshipped.
Japanese people built the solemn house of the special style, also in order to worship God and to hold a festival.
This is a Jinja shrine.

The gate of the big stone called “鳥居 torii” is located in the front of a shrine.
Each shrine has God who is called “祭神 Saijin: the enshrined deity” and has been
the target of Shintoism faith.
“Saijin” dedicated at the Shinto shrine are different from each Shinto shrine.

There are many shrines that have Amaterasu Ohomikami as its enshrined deity.

Japanese people love festivals truly.
Many festivals are held in front of a Shinto shrine in spring and autumn to express
the feeling of thanks to God.

I will give explanation about Buddhism faith of Japanese people next.
Buddhism transmitted from China to Japan about 1500 years ago.
Since there was Shintoism faith in Japan,
considering another existence as faith besides God was not accepted at the beginning.
However, a true religion is not only to worship an image for both the Shintoism faith and Buddhism faith.
And also religion is one of the philosophy that guides how human live his life.
And also religion admonishes us human should have the gentle heart, the heart without anger,  and the heart that respects a partner.
Therefore Buddhism has gradually accepted by Japanese people.
However, also for the faith of Buddhism, or also for the faith of Shinto,
the true religion is not intended to simply worship idols.
And also, religion is one of the philosophy that leads humans to live better on his own life.

Therefore, basic providence is altogether the same in reliance of Shintoism,
Buddhism reliance, or Christianity relianc

Only one thing that humans continue to seek is “love”.
And human has admissibility.
Therefore, Buddhism is gradually accepted by Japanese people.

And since 聖徳太子 Prince Shoutoku Taishi protected and recommended Buddhism
when he got the post of the regency, it permeated the Japanese heart greatly.

Soon, while time passed, the Buddhism of various denominations was introduced from China to Japan.
Moreover, Buddhistic various denominations were born at the various places of Japan.
Many of Japanese are Buddhists.
And, by the succession from an ancestor, each of them becomes the Buddhist belonging to one of those denominations.

The principal object of worship(本尊) at the temple is the Buddha statue which people of each denomination worship.
The worshiped Principal image(本尊)varies according to each denomination and temple.

For example, popular principal images of Buddha:本尊 are Amida Nyorai image,
Dainichi Nyorai Buddha image, and Goddess of Mercy image.
Some Buddhist priests preach an opinion that Dainichi Buddha is the center of Buddha.
And they are explaining “Dainchi Nyorai changes to the appearance of various Buddha, and saves people. ”

The sutras have various differences by a denominationt.
However, only Heart Sutra (般若心経) is the Buddhist scripture which all the cults evaluate.
In other words, most Japanese are Buddhists and are Shinto believers.
In Japan many people pray at the Shinto shrine for New Year holidays, and carry out a funeral service at a temple.

And the doctrine of the Shintoism and that of the Buddhism are also very deep.
I think that meditation in Zen Buddhism is really wonderful culture.

In order to know a thing of Japan truly, you cannot understand in many cases,
unless you know about Buddhism and Shintoism.

Even Japanese people, those who understand them are really slight.
We live this instant earnestly every day.

 

ZEN

春は花 夏ほととぎす 秋は月 冬雪さえて冷(すず)しかりけり
Haruwahana Natsuhototogisu Akiwatuki Fuyuyukisaete suzushikarikeri

曹洞宗(Soto-shu) 道元禅師(Dougen Zenji)

When spring comes, a flower will bloom, when summer comes, a little cockoo will twitter, and when autumn comes, the moonwill  be seen finely.
And in winter it snows and it is cold dignifie.
(This is the sentence that I translated into English.)

In this way, nature is always the same without changing.
And, although nature does not change, each of the seasons surely circulates and comes round to us as usual.

Just a natural thing is the most important.
It does not change, although it changes, and although it does not change, it changes.
“I am thou. I’m not it.”  This is a German philosopher’s word.
In the Heart Sutra
You see the phrase “Shikisokuzeku Kusokuzeshiki” 「色即是空 空即是色」.
It seems to exist there but there is nothing in fact.
It doesn’t seem to exist there but there is something in fact.
I will explain it at a point of view of the atomic physics,
Appearance of all things, is determined by the form of a combination of atoms.
Whether it is visible to your eyes or invisible , it is only the difference.
If it is not visible, it is there, and if it is visible, it does not exist.
Therefore, I am you, am also the big ocean, and am also a bird which flies in the sky.
From where to where is human’s own body?
Sweat and urine, even though there has been in our body as our own until now,
at the moment it comes out of our bodies, it is no longer sweat and urine.
Boundary does not exist in this world.

Manyoshu「万葉集」 (Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves)
A poetry written by a monter

旅人の 宿りせむ野に 霜降らば
我が子 羽裹(はぐく)め 天の鶴群(たづむら)
Tabibitono yadorisemnoni simofuraba
wagakohagukume amenotazumura

Oh, my son who is in a distant land… when the cold frost falls to the land,
Oh! cranes flying in the sky… If I were you I could fly to…
Please let my son stay under your warm feather, and protect him, and please warm him.(This is the sentence that I translated into English.)

 

Come and enjoy daily life in Hida-Furukawa (the north to Takayama).
They take you somewhere wonderful by bicycle to get you know
real rural life of Japan.  Satoyama experiance

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Takayama Desk has opened near Tkayama Station in 2015.
Also you can enjoy “Discover the Sake”  at Funasaka Sake brewery. 

 

Modern Japanese towel:Tenugui  濱文様
Modern dyeing with the traditional craftsmanship

ninnja1
Ninnja 忍者


ninnja2

samurai2

 

A nice shop for the traditional  Japanese craft Aoyama Square  in Tokyo
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BONSAI is a kind of a pot plant in Japan.
Japanese traditional plant art exists in a bowl.
You can enjoy real  Bonsai at SHUNKAEN BONSAI MUSEUM  in Tokyo,Japan.