Need Time to Breath

I am afraid that part 2 of  Oniyo Fire Festival can`t be posted in the near time. I am now VERY BUSY finishing my thesis with still lots of things to do despite the presentation is on this Friday. Just finished writing the thesis at around 400am in the lab and submitted it to the lecturer’s room at around 430am after some final checking. But still, it`s not the time to be relieved as it will be returned later today after being checked by him. And I expect there will be lots of rewriting to be done(though I really hope not) considering our strict lecturer. Need to have some good food to gain energy for another 4days of sleepless night. Furthermore, I got to have my things ready packed today since that tomorrow we have to move to other rooms to give way for some renovation at the current ones. Gosh…hopefully I don`t get sick during this important period of time. Please, help me God.

Well, for the part 2`s post, though it is not yet finished, I`d like to share just some previews of it.

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Number six

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What : A curious girl

Where : Kurume Suiten Festival, Kurume-shi

When : Summer`09

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Oniyo Fire Festival Part1 – Burning the Decorations

*Some photos in the post are not suitable for 17years and below`s viewing…

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Oniyo Fire Festival, which is held in Daizenji Tamatare-gu Shrine in Kurume-city, is one of the three largest fire festivals in Japan. This event takes place on the last day of the Shinto ritual, ONI-E , on the 7th of January every year.

According to the diary of  Yakushiji Temple, the festival originated from a happening  in the year 368, when Fujidaijin(a minister at that time) cut off the head of Yusurachin, who was torturing local people, and burnt it.

On this 7th day after New Year,  they will have a Shinto ritual during the festival in where people pray for peace and safety , good harvest and the prevention of disasters as well as to ward off evil spirits.

This year we got an invitation from the event`s committee to take part in the event. We were excited to join but when told that we would have to wear cawat during the festival, we declined the invitation. Kami tak sanggup nak pakai cawat tu. Sebab bukak aurat satu, pastu nak pakai tengah winter yang sejuk beku ni? Event tu malam pulak tu. Tak sanggup!

However, a few days after that, we were told that we can join the event as a 見学者(observer) and we agreed. However, as our substitutes, four Japanese junior students came forward to join the cawat group. And on evening January the 7th, off we go riding on Pakcik Kida`s car.(Pakcik Kida is from our hostel`s office)

We get off at Yamanomachi Civic Hall, where we would join the Yamanomachi`s locals who would participate in the event. During the festival, they will be 5 more groups from the other areas and they will gather at some place near the shrine later. We arrived quite early, so while waiting for the others to come we were served with some food. Then, more and people came and joined us at the table. Some of them looked scary, some looked like yakuzas, but when we try and have some chat with them, we found out that all of them were very friendly. They were all excited because they don`t have  that much chance socializing with foreigners like this. We got ourselves busy entertaining  their questions about our countries, cultures etc. Oh ya, at the same time, maybe encouraged by excitement on those people`s faces, our Laos friend, Danang suddenly told his desire to join them. Without much hesitation they welcomed him and upstairs Danang went to change into the cawat. After that he was told to take some sake(liquor) to heat his body as it will be ice-freezing outside.

At about 700pm, when everyone was finally present, they had some briefing and then off we went heading to the shrine.

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At a field near the shrine, they started burning the New Year`s house decorations made from dry wheat branches. They burnt them in groups divided according to their origin areas while chanting their praying words.

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These guys below are my juniors, and at the most right is Danang. Tengok macam sejuk giler. Tapi, since most of the time they were near the fire, they were actually very hot. I tried going close to the fire and it was sangat panas ok. But when you distanced yourself from it, it`ll be freezing-cold. So, you must have the skills to determine the appropriate distance from the fire so that you won`t be to hot, or too cold. Suam-suam kuku kata orang.. =P

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At about 830pm, it was almost time for the main event.The group paraded to the shrine and circle the shrine area 3 times carrying their small torches before gathering  at the places where the big torches are.

These big torches which are made from MOSO-DAKE(the biggest kind of bamboo in Japan), are called OH-TAIMATSU. They are 6 of them and they are 1meter in diameter, 15 meters long and weigh 1.2 tons each. These  OH-TAIMATSU are placed in front of the belfry in the shrine yard.

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To be continued in Part 2…

Jalan-jalan on a cold day

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On that snow day, I had some time before class starts, so I went for some photo hunt around the college.

Saw the other students who came early to school playing with the snow.

Didn`t get to take any of their pics though, because the Japanese are quite reluctant to let other people, especially unknown people to photo them.

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There were snowmen almost every single corner I passed through.

And snowball fights too.

Among the snowmen,you would usually expect to find something like this.

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But who would expect this?!Japanese do thing out of the box, huh?

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I then walk out from the school compound to enjoy the views outside.

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Five minutes before 9.30am, I head back to attend my only class for that morning.

At that time, it was cloudy and dark, and the snow started to fall again.

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At about noon, I finished my class and I went for another photo hunt.

This time, I went to the neighborhood nearby.

And this time, it`s a clear-blue sky and the sun was shining brightly.

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After about 20 minutes outside, I ended my jalan-jalan that day

and went back to hostel to fill my empty stomach.

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