Thursday, July 19, 2012

Hamaorisai

Hamaorisai Festival is one of the most anticipated festivals in Japan as it signals the start of the summer season. The ceremony begins before the sun rises and ends around 9 am. I stayed at my friend's place the night before, took the first train and still arrived late (and even thought of missing the main event). I and a group of friends joined the hundreds of Japanese and foreigners who troop down to Chigasaki Beach to be a part of the sacred spectacle. 

hamaorisai 

Just before the sun summons its rays, spectators, hobbyists and photographers already position themselves to decent spots to capture and document the said event. No one cared how hot the sun breathing was. Everyone wants to have a clear view of the event as it unfolds.

addicts 

Before the mikoshis (portable shrines) are carried to the ocean by the devotees, a ritual was held to sanctify all the participants for a good and prosperous year to come. Though I didn't understand the entirety of the ceremony, it was in Japanese, I can certainly feel its purpose and intent. 

blessings 

After receiving the well deserved blessings, devotees carried their mikoshis to the sea, a way of purification. It looks so easy in the photos but it takes strength, determination and patience to successfully challenge the weight as well as the waves that are coming along the way. But despite of the physical difficulties and struggles, each face of the disciple exudes an aura of contentment and of joy. 

hamaorisai chiga21hamaorisai hamaorisai 

a devotee's niche
ordained by salty blessing
treasures of the ocean 

And it must be noted the children let their presence felt too. Though they only stay at near shore they are still proofs that tradition and customs are not always about age and generation.

 innocence 

As a foreigner living in Japan, it was a very interesting and enriching experience for me. Hamaorisai Festival is one of the festivals that I will be looking forward from now on. And to all the devotees, much respect to all of you. A well deserved rest is what you all need. 

breakwater 

Wishing everyone a fruitful year ahead. 

/totomai 
2012/07/19

47 comments:

  1. wow!! amazing!! too many people!!

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    1. thanks pot! saan ka na ba? paramdam ka uy

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  2. How amazing, all the different ways that people around world welcome summer : ), great pictures as ever of course!

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    1. Thanks Hannah! It's crazy here! Japanese love summer!

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  3. ako din! last photo fave!

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  4. sa susunod kasali ka na dun sa nagkakarga? LOL

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  5. The last photo speaks so well of a very relaxing rest, John. I love experiences like this involving other cultures, i am glad you were able to bring yourself to the event.

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    1. i have to wake up early ms beth haha. wala na ligo ligo para lang mahabol ang first train haha

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  6. galing sa susunod maging devotee ka na rin.. hehe

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    1. oo naman. haha. adik. teka, dapat sa Thailand na next adventure natin

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  7. Very nice. Your shots tell stories the way Boston Globe's Big Picture does. http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/

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    1. Thanks Steph. Thanks for sharing the link too :-)

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  8. What a great record of this particular event. The customs and rituals of our lives should be recorded and preserved as we are tending to be turned into boring sameness with multiculturalism thus losing important traditions.

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    1. Agree. It should be continued so that new generation can still understand the traditions practiced by their ancestors.

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  9. Thank you for taking us along to the festival through your pictures and words... fascinating!

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  10. Ocean indeed holds so many treasures.. well said..and well done..

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  11. a beautiful pictorial and commentary on a unique and fascinating tradition from the Far East...you are so fortunate to have been in the midst of that 'salty blessing'....

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    1. hi joanne, i am not sure until when I will be staying in Japan so i am grabbing all the opportunities i can have :-)

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  12. I was only there for 4 months, but I miss Japan. Thank you for sharing part of your world. :)

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  13. Such a fascinating ritual. And where it involves the ocean it is all the more significant to see. Great write totomai!

    Hank

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    1. Thanks Hank! the ocean is a jewel itself

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  14. Beautiful photography..so rich..a real treasure..aptly matched by your words..Jae

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  15. you have been tagged...!

    http://palabradiminuta.blogspot.com/

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  16. Looks like a beautiful celebration of the season!

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  17. I had no idea aabout that festival- now I do! Thank you for the enlightenment--- and I love the last 3 photos! Fantastic!

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    1. Thanks Patti! It's my first time to experience this kind of festival too.

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  18. This blog is through a nice to meet new people and their land, culture and nature. Come and look at you Teuvo Kuvat - Teuvo images, both at the same time will be my blog collection flag depicting your country's flag to rise higher. You should also tell all your friends to my blog by fermentation. Teuvo Vehkalahti Finland

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  19. Thanks Teuvo :-) Thanks for visiting, I'll be checking your blog site too.

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  20. Oh wow... lots of people! I love the last photo too. :)

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  21. I've always been fascinated to the Japanese culture although I haven't been there yet. Interesting blog post and as always, I love the photos! :)

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    1. Thanks actually it was one of Sumi's request to share more about Japan

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