BOOM! Another tree (and my inaugural stream!)

There was, to borrow a phrase, an earth-shattering ka-boom. I launched up from a dead sleep like Nosferatu on Red Bull.

The Horror - Jobs That Make The World Worse

In that incredible space where time dilates and the brain can work blazingly fast, before I was upright I had already considered and discarded thunder (we were having a storm but the sound profile was different) or a blown transformer (I’ve heard that from very close, it didn’t match either, and besides there isn’t one nearby). Sitting up, looking out the window, I recalled a friend telling me that the recent Tokyo fireball had awakened her in the night, and I seriously wondered if we’d just had a meteor strike.

Continue reading

Fushimi Inari Taisha

Fushimi Inari Taisha (shrine)

The iconic red gates mark the entrance to a shrine, defining a sacred space, but to many outside Japan they are most associated with Fushimi Inari Taisha, the famous shrine at Kyoto. While there are many fascinating aspects to explore here, the seemingly-endless red torii are a captivating visual and immediately recognizable all over the world.

Fushimi Inari Taisha (伏見稲荷大社) was founded in 711, on Inariyama (Mt. Inari) outside Kyoto. The main structure today dates to 1499 (but is regularly reconstructed, per tradition). Inari Ōkami is the Shinto spirit of rice and its related themes of sake and prosperity. For this reason, you will see donated sake near the shrines.

Throughout Shinto’s long history, Inari has been variously depicted as both male and female. While Susan Spann graciously guided me on my first visit to Fushimi Inari Taisha, we were amused by our distinct references in conversation—I kept referring to Inari as she, and Susan kept saying he, but really that makes sense when you remember that we write in different historical periods.

Continue reading