Oniyo Fire Festival Part2 – Burning the Giant Torches

Part1 is HERE

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After 3 times of circle around the shrine, they then all gathered in front of the shrine belfry for the main event. When every group has arrived at their OH-TAIMATSU(big torches), all the small torches fire were put off, as well as other lamps and lights. The surrounding was in total darkness.

At exactly 9pm, everyone`s eyes went to one corner lit with a small light where a man was standing with a sea-shell(is it call sea-shell?) in his hand. He then started blowing the shell signing the start of the main event followed with a blow of some kind of music with a traditional flute.

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As the flute blow ended, the group of people started making fire to fire up the giant torches. With the 3,2,1 counting, they start burning the giant torches, which was poured with some alcohol(@ kerosene, am not so sure) before that. The quiet and dark surrounding then became lively as the place was brighten up by the fire, with drums beating and some performances at the front stage. While the torches were burning, they said their praying chants along. As the fire went further down the torches, they cut the ropes tiding them and threw the ropes to the crowds waiting, who believe that keeping them would bring good luck. If you look at the pictures, you might think that all the fire burnings look dangerous, as a matter of fact they are, but to ensure the safety of everyone, the firemen were present there at all time.

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When the fire had burnt about 1/3 of the torches, they then carried the torches one by one to a place in front of the main shrine, where they stopped there continuing their praying words for some time. After that, they carried the torches again, this time circling the shrine area until the torches were almost burnt up. During that time, they would stop a few times to have someone climb on the torch and cut the ropes around the it as the fire went towards the other end. The group behind us at one time had a British boy doing that and he was encouragingly cheered by his other group members. Lastly, they carried the torches to a disposing place and with a speech and some claps, they end their festival for this year.

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We then went back together with our group members to the civic hall. There, everyone was treated with some Japanese deserts and their most liked favorite drink, the green tea. We feel so lucky that we were given the opportunity to participate and watch from close a big traditional event like this one. We would like to thank the committee members for inviting us and even providing the transport for sending us back to college. Hope that they will invite us again next year, so that our friends who didn`t make it this time would also get the chance to experience your unique culture.よろしくお願いします!

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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…

1431H

Selamat Menyambut Maal Hijrah kepada semua umat Islam

Let`s pray for a better year ahead for everyone.

InsyaAllah…

Aidilfitri 1430H – Part 3

This post is the continuation of Part 1 and Part2

On the third day of Raya, there left only 10 of us, who luckily had a little longer holiday than the others.On that day, we went for a football friendly tournament organised by the Fukuoka muslims society.We formed the Malaysian team together with some students from Kyushu University, to compete with the other teams, 2 Arabs team, a Bangladesh team, and one mixed team with members from other minority countries.The tournament was played with league system.It took us quite some time to look for the park where there tournament is held since we were not familiar with the area, plus it was raining that day.However we fortunately arrived just in time before the game started.

Getting ready

The Malaysian `TIGERS` =P

Bro nuri in action

Against the Bangladesh

Kewajipan tak dilupa

Some arguments during the final match, but nothing serious.Biasa la orang Arab..

Bujang lapuk? haha..

Muslims unites

The tournament ended at about 6pm.The top 2 teams in the league were the Arabs and they played in the final match.We only managed 3 draws and lost one game.All in all, we enjoyed ourselves on that day.This kind of activity gathered the muslims here and it encourages more interaction among us, thus promote more unity and understanding of each other.Hopefully there will be more activity like this in the future.We will be happy to participate.

Aidilfitri 1430H – Part 2

Sorry for the SUPER late update.

This post is the continuation of Part 1.

On the 2nd day of Raya, we gave our friends a mini barbeque treat in Kurume.The place was at Chikugo River,  just beside our own college.That morning we had ourselves busy preparing the barbeque set etc at the spot while waiting for our friends coming from Hakata.We started to panggang the chickens and satays when they arrived.Had lots of chat and fun.It is very rare to have our friends from the upper part of Japan to came all the way down here to Kyushu, so we were very happy ourselves.

Kipas Yi, kipas

Yang belakang sana memanggang, yang depan ni melahap~

Suma bau asap ler~~

Lompat jgn x lompat

Haa..kan dah injured

Yeay~

In the evening, we brought our friends to Tosu Premium Outlets, not very far from our place for some shopping.This was the last place we went as most of them were going back that night.I expected them to be back from Tosu with their hands full of shopping bags, but most of them came back to the gathering spot with only one.Congrats!Kuat iman diorang ni.Hehe..Oh ya, before that, we parted with one of our friend from Tokushima as he had to catch the train back to his place.Thanks Din for coming.

Bus stop

The Tsuyamas minus Yi n Fadzil

After Tosu, we then head to Hakata Station, to send our friends back to their places.Those from Okayama and Wakayama would be boarding the bus from the station.While waiting for the departure time, we had dinner together at a restaurant.Then, our friend from Wakayama boarded the bus the earliest, followed by the Okayamas.Bit by bit our group became smaller, we felt a bit of loneliness.We actually hoped that they could stay a bit more longer, but they would be having classes the next next day, so there was nothing we could do.Anyway, I would like to thank everyone for coming to Fukuoka, and hoped that everyone had a great time!We did.Thanks again! =)

Dinner

Have a safe journey home

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Aidilfitri 1430H – Part 1

Warning : This is a post with lots of photos..

Last week we had a blast Hari Raya celebration.20 kosen students gathered in Fukuoka, Kyushu, and we celebrated lebaran together.We mostly came from Kyushu and west Honshu area, where summer holiday is earlier than those upper north,  hence we can`t celebrate raya at home, in Malaysia.Plus, for us to travel north to celebrate raya is too much costly, so our juniors came up with an idea to organise our own raya celebration.Since it was in Fukuoka, we the Kurume Kosen students automatically become the host for this event.

The event started with our friends from other places arriving in Hakata, Fukuoka on the 18th and 19th of August.Most of them stayed at the house rented specially for the event in Hakata, while some of them stayed at our college`s hostel.

On Saturday, the 19th, those in charge of cooking were busy buying and preparing the groceries and things needed for all the dishes planned.While they were doing all that at home, we treated the others for a jalan-jalan around Fukuoka city.Sorry guys for at one time, took you all on the wrong bus that day but I hope you enjoyed the places I brought you to.

That night, after buka puasa with the kohai girls cooking, we had a lot of chat and played some cards among us, while waiting for the confirmation of  Hari Raya date.Then about 15 minutes past 9pm, we got to know through ERA that Hari Raya would be the on the 20th, which was the next day!Thankfully we had everything ready from the beginning, so there was no need to panic.Since it`s malam raya, so like always, everyone called their family, and I think some cried during that time.Heheh..At about 10pm, we and those who were going to stay at our hostel made our move and left all the other preparations to the others at the house.

20 August 2009, 1 Syawal 1430H, we got up very early in the morning, get prepared, put on our Baju Melayu, and we started our journey to raya prayer at Fukuoka Masjid.We went straight by train, and would be meeting the others there. Looking at their happy faces made me for some moment forget about the fact of not being with my own family for the 3rd straight time on Hari Raya.

About 6.25am, Kurume Eki

About 6.25am, Kurume Eki

Ke masjid hala tuju kami..

Ke masjid hala tuju kami..

To Fukuoka Masjid..

Fukuoka Masjid..

Takbir before Eid prayer

Takbir before Eid prayer

After the Raya prayer, had some jamuan at the Masjid, and after that we went for a photography session at a park nearby.After all the poses and fun, we headed to the house for our own jamuan and I should say this, the chefs had done a very good job!The rendang was marvelous, and we also had daging masak merah, soto, ketupat and you know what, LEMANG!Respect la you all, boleh buat lemang pakai oven jer.Of course la cannot lawan the original lemang, but for someone who have not had a lemang for 3 years, it was like heaven!Credit to the chefs!

Jamuan @ Masjid

Eid Mubarak!

As usual, a formal photo is a must..

As usual, a formal photo is a must..

...as well as `wild` photo.

...as well as `wild` photo.

I personally like this photo very much.

I personally like this photo very much.

And this one too.

And this one too.

Orang lain dok tengok je lam tren..

Jalan balik rumah(tak sabar nak makan)

Jalan balik rumah(tak sabar nak makan)

Yeahhh

Yeahhh

Finished eating, the chefs and the others who helped prepared the dishes were given time to have some rest.After Asar, we made our move for another jalan-jalan in Fukuoka city, but this time with our Baju Melayus and Baju Kurungs.Though we had the Japanese looking at us all the time, but we didn`t even give a care about it, in fact, it was fun!Wearing our traditional costumes and having other staring somehow give us some sense of pride of our own culture.After touring around the Fukuoka Tower and Yahoo Dome area, with some more photography sessions, we went back to the house and had another round of jamuan and chats before we went back to Kurume.

Fukuoka Tower in the back

Fukuoka Tower in the back

Beach

Lepak-lepak at beach

Yahoo Dome

Yahoo Dome

To be continued…

Majlis Sambutan Hari Raya Fukuoka

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Malaysian students (from west Japan kousens) will be organising the Majlis Sambutan Hari Raya in Fukuoka, Kyushu.

It will be attended by kousen students mostly from Kyushu Island and West Honshu.

However our friends from other places are also invited to come and join us.

The more, the merrier.

For more details, you can refer to the event`s page on Facebook,

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