Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Shrines - Ochanomizu, Shirokishi and Bento Art

All right. This entry was originally just supposed to be about the kitsune shrine. However, I've already got 2 weeks of blog entries backlogged, and I really want to mention two things that came up yesterday. So this is going to be a hybrid entry. Gomen ne, kitsune-sama.

First, the shrine.
Small shrines are an inescapable part of Japanese life. No matter where you go, or what city you're in, there'll be a shrine somewhere nearby. Some are just little shelters 3 feet tall with a small granite priest (jizou) with a red scarf inside. Others will consist of a few buildings, an altar to pray to, and a small coin collection box. What they all have in common is that if you're a foreigner, odds are you'll have no idea what the shrine is for if there's no one around to explain it to you.

This particular shrine is dedicated to a goddess, and is represented by a kitsune (fox) spirit. Shrines to kitsune are very common, while those for tanuki are less so. I discovered this shrine on my wanderings just south of Ochanomizu station. It's just south of music instrument street, next to a large office building, in the direction towards Jimbocho.

(The main shrine. The goddess's name is on the white lanterns. Note the kitsune at the left.)

(A little altar to the left of the shrine.)

(More detail of the kitsune. No idea what implement is in its mouth. The statue is designed to look like the kitsune is riding on top of a cloud.)

Second, Shirokishi Monogatari.
AKA: White Knight Story. I dropped by the UDX building on my way to work, and discovered a "private party event" for WKS. This is a game for the PS 3, and it's been anticipated for well over a year now. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get inside. The launch party was for the press only, and from the outside looked like the entrance to a haunted house. I really need to get on a press-announcement mailing list... Still, it's cool, knowing what kind of stuff goes on around here.

(Press sign in desk. There was virtually no one from the press waiting to get in when I arrived.)

(Entrance to the show.)

(Same entrance, but 10 minutes earlier, before the girls went on break and the knights took over.)

Third, bento art.
This website was just brought to my attention. Way cool stuff. (Feature article). You've got to check this out.

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