I'm living in Kusatsu-shi, Shiga-ken for an undetermined amount of time and teaching English as a second language at a local high school. This journal is to document my experiences, thoughts, and to stay connected with others at home and abroad.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

The first image was taken at a nearby temple (tera in Japanese), about a ten-minute bike ride from where we live. Water pours out of the dragon's mouth, and visitors may cleanse their hands if they choose before approaching the shrine (jinja) for a prayer. Sorry for the trite ancient Japanese iconography, but it stood out to me that over 1,500 years ago nearly halfway around the world the Japanese imagined identical mystical creatures as the Europeans. I wonder if there were cultural crossovers before the exploration explosion later in history where some of these ideas were exchanged between East and West. (Just as a warning, I'm only beginning my comparisons between England and Japan. Both are insular monarchies, have similar terrain, although Japan is considerably colder in the winter due to being on a higher latitude. For those interested there will be many more to come; for everyone else, just be prepared to use your clicker to scroll ahead when my musings become dense or stretched :-)

The second picture is of a gravel path leading up to a different shrine. There are seriously more shrines per square kilometer than cars, which for me is like heaven (tengoku) with my own army of bats––don't lie, you know how awesome it would be! (Actually, because we live next to rice fields, bats emerge and patrol outside of our balcony to feast on the gnats and other bugs (mushi) that are attracted to the rice plants. So I figure in about three months I'll have trained a regiment large enough to begin taking over the country. Excuse the digression.) This shrine is only also within ten minutes of our apartment.

The flowers (hana) are merely my attempt and capturing beauty. Those are Katie's legs in the background so bite your tongue––and keep dreaming!


Blogger Dr. Gn Sulpicius Rufus said...

Dude, the European dragon and the Asian dragon are almost diametrically opposed mate. First, the Japanese dragon is actually the Chinese dragon; the Chinese dragon is a conglomeration of specific clan symbols, such as the fish, the deer, the tiger, etc. that were united under one of the dynasties of latter (post Spring and Autumn Zhou period and the Hans too); it was a symbol of power, and was translated to Korea as a divine symbol and made the skip over the Sea of Japan as a symbol only subordinated to the sun.

In Europe, it was an awful, fearful complex that represented the subconscious; it protected something, it stole what the conscious wanted, and it was derived from (probably) dinosaur bones or larger animals. How these formed autonomous from one another; well, how did numerous philosophical and abstract concepts (pyramids, eternal life) form independent of one another?

We're lame. That's how. Humans are lame and can't think of anything new or original. Repackage it, attach the colostomy back, and hook the tube back into your mouth.

Thank God America refuses to accept Global Warming. I'm buying property with the Wolverines in Canada.

1:17 PM

Blogger Salem Willard said...

Sean?...Is that you?

3:18 PM

Blogger Dr. Gn Sulpicius Rufus said...

Oh course it is: A Doctor Gnaeus Sulpicius Rufus? You're precise in your deduction. I guess I'm a blogger or something.

1:39 PM


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