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Yearly Archives: 2017

Technobuddhism

Many years ago, out of curiosity, I got up early to attend the morning prayers at a Buddhist temple in Kyoto. It wasn’t much fun, to be honest. The monotone chanting seemed to go on forever, and sitting in seiza the whole time rapidly became excruciating. When it was finally over, I felt like I’d been stuck there for hours although the whole thing probably lasted no more than 30 minutes. But there’s a temple in Fukui city where things are done slightly differently. Twice a year, the Sho-on-ji (照恩寺) temple puts on a prayer service with techno music and flashing lights… According to a BBC news item, these performances are the creation of Gyosen Asakura (朝倉行宣), a DJ-turned-priest who hopes to get more young people interested in Buddhism. I’d definitely go along if I happened to be in the area. I’d probably bring something to sit on, though. Click through to Asakura’s YouTube channel to see the videos of these events, with sound.

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Ōyama Sutematsu

Someone recently uploaded the story of a Japanese education pioneer called Ōyama Sutematsu (大山 捨松). It’s quite an interesting read: The first Japanese woman to go to college didn't have a choice.

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Japanese kennels

I never realised competitive carpentry was a thing in Japan. Here are two teams competing to create dog houses in the style of traditional Japanese architecture. The results are pretty amazing.

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Dekotora

A Youtube channel called Great Big Story has made a lot of videos about Japan. I particularly liked this one about the decorated trucks, or deco tora (デコトラ) for short. Every one is unique, and the amount of money people spend on these things is astonishing.

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Header image: Maple leaves and bamboo stems in autumn at Tenryū-ji garden (天龍寺庭園) in Kyoto. Photo: Frank Gualtieri.

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