Monday, January 29, 2007


Four months. We went to a festival at Tenukidaniyama Fudo-in today. They call it a temple, but the architecture was much more like a Shinto shrine. The festival had a contradictory theme: drink blessed sake to heal your body. I whole-heartedly took part, Alison was more reserved. The sake was poured out of green bamboo shoots at the end of a long line of believers that wrapped around the temple's main hall. Plums of incense flowed from inside, accompanied by the thumping of an upright drum and some feverous chanting. I was completely absorbed in the sounds.

From the end of the line it looked like people had brought small jars and bottles form home to have filled with sake. The only bottle I had on me was my one liter Nalgene, it would have to do. Closer to the pouring table I noticed a pillar hung with hundreds of small wooden plaques bearing a rough painting of the human figure with parts in need of fixing circled in black by the devote. Again, I had no such plaque, but thought of my ears that are crusting up once again in the cold.

At the table now I realized most people were just getting a shot of sake from small white ceramic dishes provided by the temple. But I had my water bottle in hand and a monk with a fresh shoot of sake was motioning me forward. I held out my Nalgene and he started to pour. I figured he would give me about the same as they were giving out in the dishes, but he just kept pouring. My bottle was nearly half full and I was shaking my head in an attempt to get him to stop, but he was to focused on the pour! Finally with a wave of my hand he stopped, I bowed, and backed away.

The sake was warm and delicious, and the temple grounds were beautiful. I only had a few sips as I did not want to risk the steep stairs on the way down, but am enjoying what remains presently.


Anonymous said...

Enjoy every drop!

But go slowly.


Anonymous said...

Wish I could have been there - I could have added my hip, foot, neck, etc!!!!! And after drinking a water bottle of sake I'm sure everything would have been just fine!!!! Glad to hear that you are using good judgement. Sounds like a wonderful experience. Bonnie