Friday, July 24, 2015

Waves

Three years ago, I was able to witness the HamaorisaiFestival. Back then, I promised to be a part of the event every year but that did not happen.  This time though, I and my friends saw to it that we will be there as spectators or photographers, depending on our moods.  Since a strong typhoon had just left Japan, we were expecting the weather to be good. We trooped to Chigasaki Station at 1 am, camped on the beach at 2 am and started taking photos of the event at 430 am. All the things we do in the name of photography.  Craziness.

hamaorisai

The procession of mikoshis or portable shrines commenced earlier, around 1 am. As expected, a large crowd was already there. Every spot is occupied, from the devotees to the media and photographers, from locals to tourists. Everyone was in high spirits and was eagerly waiting for the sunrise, for the summer to start.

boundary

Lullaby of the Ocean

i sleep
on a sandy crib
watch by two stars
and some planets
like musical mobiles

the curtains above
quickly change
from blue to black to blue

somewhere
i can hear a lullaby
it is without words

like a hum
of a mother
to a child
thumb sucking

the sound grows
louder and drowns
 my spirit

i sleep
on a sandy crib
protected by the mists
coming from the ocean

the lullaby lingers

/totomai

The Hamaorisai Festival is held every third Monday of July. It is also a national holiday in Japan called “Umi-no-hi” or “Ocean Day”.  The devotees started their day minutes after midnight, forgetting on how to sleep just for this event. This is one of my favorite festivals in Japan

morningcarry
carry
teamunity

There are lots of groups participating in the said event.  Each group has a guide to check the current of the ocean and assure its member that it is still safe to walk through the waves.

guard
wave

That particular day, the ocean was pretty rough. It was a struggle for devotees to carry the mikoshis to the sea.  It was also a challenge to the photographers and media documenting the event.

wave
risksplash

Bringing the portable shrines to the sea is a Japanese way of saying thank you to the gods living there for the continuous blessings. It seems that the farthest the devotees can bring the mikoshis out to the sea, the better.

devotion
faithflow
shoot

The dedication and strength of the bearers are admirable. It must be noted that as these mikoshis are heavy. Humps or swelling on the shoulders of the devotees can be seen while they rest or take a dive in the water. But despite of the hardships, you can see a very positive aura on each devotee’s face.

strength
devoteespull
dedication

Hamaorisai Festival is not only for adults. There are kids already being exposed by their parents to the tradition.  Perhaps they can represent the coming generation.  And since the location is at the beach, random things are happening at the same time too.

someday
bonddraw
contemplate

Obviously the crowd enjoyed every second of the festival. I am expecting another large crowd next year.

crowd

As for myself, I enjoyed it very much and looks like I am coming back next year. Not a promise this time though.  See me in action as I try to avoid the angry waves.

me
photo taken by Russel

Also here's a video taken by my friend.  The photos above could never capture the actual experience. Watch it to see how devoted the Japanese are.



Photos taken with Nikon D7000, 
lenses used : 
      Nikkor 18-300mm 3.5f 
      Tamron 11-16 mm 2.8f 

      
/totomai
2015/07/24

48 comments:

  1. Pictures are more colorful than the previous ;)

    -Kuyeng R.

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    1. of course haha. thanks kuyeng for my photo and the for sharing the video

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  2. It is such dedication to be able to experience it all at such an unearthly hour. Great pic totomai! (yes, the pics earlier are just great!)

    Hank

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    1. I really admire their determination and faith. Much respect to their culture and tradition too, Hank

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  3. What a treat you provide for us each week.

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  4. the poem so serene - the action so vivid - like waking from a dream when the day begins. Intriguing festival - now to watch the video - thank you!

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    1. Thanks TTT. I hope that you will enjoy the video too

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  5. To feel safe and that we belong in the world is perhaps the essence of feeling nurtured and cared for...well worth being up the middle of the night for these beautiful pictures and words

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    1. You're correct Jae - i actually would love to do it again in a heartbeat.

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  6. Crib of sand and star mobiles... just beautiful.

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    1. two beautiful things i've discovered recently. thanks Thot

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  7. enjoyed the video very much...so many rhythmic united voice...love your lines..."like a hum / of a mother / to a child / thumb sucking" full of tranquility....

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    1. It's like a chant or a prayer - thanks Sumana

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  8. Loved the beautiful pictures.. as it is always a treat when I visit your blog :D
    These lines are beautiful:

    the curtains above
    quickly change
    from blue to black to blue

    Well penned!
    Lots of love,
    Sanaa

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  9. I really enjoyed your series of photos, Totomai. I like the way you captured the essence of this Festival, the intricate details that you captured. And, as for your poem, there is no more wonderful lullaby than the lullaby of the ocean. It has been a while since I have heard it sing to me as I have fallen asleep...but it is still in my memory.

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    1. I thought I'll be moody thinking it will be uncomfortable but it was like a spiritual journey - being one with nature, allowing her to cradle me. Thanks Mary - I believe you have great memories with the ocean too

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  10. Truly a feast for the eyes - wonderful sharing of the festival - previously unknown to me ... The poem you have written is a feast for the spirit

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    1. Thanks Pearl - event like this can be a great source of inspiration.

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  11. The lullabycetainly does linger in your skilful and knowing hands - stunning pictures also... A real treat... Thank you...

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    1. Thanks too Scott - the lullaby is still in my head while I am riding the train :)

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  12. Such interesting pictures - I love to see that cultural traditions are still practiced meaningfully. Your poem is a very personal view. I especially liked your description of the mother's lullaby. Beautiful writing.

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    1. Much respect to them for keeping the tradition. Hopefully the younger generations can learn a thing or two. Thanks Kerry

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  13. Love the sound of your poem, the pictures and moods brought to life by your words... and then the photos, always wonderfully telling.

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    1. Thanks Magaly. Always a pleasure to share :)

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  14. Thank you so much for all the beautiful pictures and the video. Your poem is most beautiful too. I hope you do make it to the festival next year. It is fascinating.

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    1. Thanks Myrna - I hope too especially with the way the lullaby of the ocean relaxes me

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  15. Totomai this is magnificent...a day to celebrate the Ocean...thank God someone is celebrating this mighty living thing we all need. Your pictures, your words and the video are powerful and beautiful! Thanks for sharing this...

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    1. Indeed Donna. The waves were rough though.

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  16. Oh how this post filled my heart. Your photos, as always are spectacular, .........I especially love the top one with the silhouettes of people emerging from the darkness.........every single photo is visually stunning and I loved the video too. Very cool. I am so happy you post these events that we would otherwise never know about. Thank you so much!

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    1. My pleasure Sherry. I also liked that photo, and made a print of if :) Thanks always for the kind words

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  17. I really enjoyed this post. Some really awesome photos. Thanks for sharing!

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  18. What a treat. Your photos are awesome. And, I luv the humility of your persona in your poem sequence
    Happy you dropped by my Sunday Lime today

    Much love...

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    1. My pleasure to share and visit Gillena :-)

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  19. Lovely photos as usual, but I really like the sensitivity of your poem,

    Elizabeth

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  20. Firstly, your poem was beautiful, totmai. I loved the changing curtains. And secondly, your pictures captured such a beautiful moment. I love to learn about traditions. Thank you for sharing such a magical event :)

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    1. I felt like child that night, Torie. Thanks

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  21. Gorgeous photos and I love "sandy crib" and the way you carried that imagery through with the idea of the moon and stars as a "musical mobile"--very creative.

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    1. Thanks for noticing the musical mobile - it was one of my fave imagery on the poem :-) Cheers CC

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  22. The phtos look amazing! I would love to go to this festival! And I enjoyed reading your poem.

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    1. Thanks Annell, it's one a kind festival

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  23. the ocean can definitely be like a lullaby and what a colorful festival! :)

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any thoughts to distill?

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