Thursday, February 2, 2012



Let me recap the excitement of the past few days.

On Tuesday I headed over to Ueno Tenmangu to interview Handa-san, who is the head priest there.  We talked for almost two hours and he was very helpful and gave me a bunch of good information.  The situation at Ueno Tenmangu is very  different than at the other shrines I've been looking at, because it has no ujiko, no real community built around the shrine, and gains most of its revenue by performing ceremonies and selling omamori (as opposed to donations from the local community).  Anyway, lots of things to think about.  I'm hoping to get into contact with some priests from of the other shrines in the area to see if they're seeing the same sort of trade-off between commercialization and community.

I've been meeting some of the other people in the dorm, thanks to Louki.  I have also been introduced to Dutch cuisine?  Apparently chocolate sprinkles on buttered bread is an incredibly common food in the Netherlands.  Louki was horrified that I'd never had it before.  Of course, she'd never had pocky before*, so there's been a lot of introduction to foreign cuisine all around.
Also, I am no longer the absolute worst at Mario Kart, because Louki, somehow, is even worse than I am.  We were playing with two of the other girls from the dorm, and they were consistently getting in the top 3, whereas we were battling for eleventh.  WE ARE THE GREATEST AT VIDEO GAMES.

We got 15 centimeters of snowfall in Nagoya today, which basically shut the entire city down.  There were 800 traffic accidents and something like 45 injuries (plus an additional 24 injuries just from people who injured themselves by WALKING**).  I had to go to the post office to mail something, and it was really eerie, because NOBODY was out.  There were no cars on the streets, very few people were on the was like the snow was actually a zombie apocalypse or something.  SO WEIRD.

Here, have some pictures of snow!

This was the view out my window shortly after I woke up...

Here's the street leading from my dorm to Nanzan.

The main road by the subway station...  There was a guy walking in the street because it had less snow than the sidewalk and there weren't any cars...


This guy was shoveling a suit.  Yeah.  He was really not dressed appropriately. He didn't even have boots.  He looked very miserable about the whole situation.

I get to climb this hill EVERY DAY.

It was twice as much fun in the snow.


When I got back to the dorm, Louki and her friend Kim were outside making a snowman, so I joined them.

It was the best snowman.
Also, the dorm caretaker helped us with the eyes.  (We couldn't get the marbles to stick, so he gouged holes in the head for us with his keys.)

Also, Louki kept calling it a "snow doll" because apparently that's what they're called in Dutch.  In Japanese they're "snow daruma."

The rest of the pictures are from about four in the afternoon, when I got sick of reading about popular education and decided to wander around the Nanzan campus in the snow for a while.  The snow had already started melting unfortunately, but there was still a fair amount.

There were.

So many.


Snowman #2!


...I'm not actually sure what this is.

Another one!

And another!

And yet another!

So much snow!

Some of the snowmen had just sort of turned into snow lumps...


So tomorrow is Setsubun, which means that there will be SO MANY BEANS FLYING.  I'm planning on attending three festivals (one at Ueno Tenmangu, one at Shiroyama Hachimangu, and one at Gosha Shrine).  Hopefully it'll be fun!

On a final note, you might notice that there's now a "Reading list" tab on the upper right-hand side of the blog.  I'm putting a list of all the books I read there, maybe with short descriptions if I feel like putting short descriptions up.  YAAAAY.


**High heels + snow = bad idea.

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