Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

March 3, 2012

The Sacred and the Profane

Filed under: Japan — admin @ 9:19 am

Shinto Shrine statues.

I went out for a ski this morning but the snow was very wet in the trees and icy on the runs. I was not at all impressed so I took the camera for a walk to go and get a free dinner. I had won a voucher at the Cultural night a few weeks ago, so I set out to claim my prize – 1000 Yen worth of food from the Tomikawa Seimensho restaurant in Furano town.

The golden arches over Jack and the beanstalks tree to the giant’s castle

This is the fantasy realm that I inhabit. The corner where the signs for Maccas and the Forest supermarket are situated. It is not tacky at all, is it?


A torii is a traditional Japanese gate usually found at the entrance or inside a Shinto shrine. It symbolizes the transition from the profane to the sacred. They were probably first built around the tenth century.

Kitsune, messenger of Oinari

Inari or Oinari is the shinto deity of rice and prosperity for farmers. Oinari’s messenger is the magical shape-shifting fox Kitsune. Fox statues are often placed in north-east corners because this is the place that demons gather and enter.


Komainu are often called lion-dogs and guard the entrance to many Japanese Shinto shrines. They are meant to ward off evil spirits. They come in pairs – one with mouth closed and the other with mouth open. Guess which one this is. The open mouth is pronouncing the first letter of the Sanskrit alphabet, “a” and the second is pronouncing “um” and together they sound Aum, or Om as we say.

Shinto Temple
Shinto temple building

The wood in this temple is wonderful. It has such amazing textures and shapes.

Abandoned bike
Girls bike in the snow

Down the road I came across this bike that had been left out in the snow. It looks sad and abandoned. Won’t someone come and ride me, it is saying.

Tomikawa Seimensho
Tomikawa Seimensho Restaurant

I had Shoyu Ramen with lots of pork. I could not read the menu so I just asked for what the guy next to me was having. Luckily it was 800 Yen, less than the amount of the voucher. The bowl was huge and I was full up to the max. Oishiii.

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress