Hidemi’s Rambling by Hidemi Woods

Singer, Songwriter and Author from Kyoto, Japan.

Hidemi’s Rambling No.158

on April 21, 2010

Around this time of year, a festival for a local shrine is held in my hometown. Once a year, the regional god comes out of the shrine, travels by a sacred portable shrine to a temporary lodging and stays there for a while. Young men in the area help the god travel by carrying the portable shrine and it’s sort of a parade. By tradition, my father would take a bath first thing in the morning, get dressed in white and leave for the shrine with the neighbor men. Meanwhile, women prepare the festival meal at home as all the relatives come together. We would eat sushi and sukiyaki and go see my father carry the portable shrine as the parade passed near our home. To me, it was a dismal event. For one thing, I didn’t like a family gathering. For another, it was a grudge. Every twelfth year, the shrine holds a special version of the festival. As it’s a bigger celebration, they choose a child from the area to accompany with the god on the portable shrine. They tend to choose from old families residing there for generations. Once, my family was chosen for the blessed child for the occasion. I’m a firstborn and was to be chosen. But I was denied only because I was a girl. Only men were allowed to carry or touch the portable shrine and I still hold grudges to date…

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