For some reason, many Japanese assume that I spend lots of time in Roppongi. I always want to remind them that I neither work for a multinational bank, nor frequent female whores. But rarely, work or a culture event forces me to confront this most “foreign friendly” neighborhood. This slutty Christmas dress epitomizes my absolute horror at being in Roppongi or in any way associated with what goes down there.
On New Year’s day, beginning just after midnight, many Japanese visit shrines, provide a small contribution, pray for less than 30 seconds, and buy a fortune. My friend took me to Adachi in northern Tokyo to a famous shrine the evening of January 1. You can see above that if you don’t like the fortune you receive, you can fold it up and tie it on a special stand that contains all the bad and just mediocre fortunes.
I left my fortune. And, under the guise of being a foreigner observing local customs, I couldn’t help but take this image of a Tokyo yankii leaving his fortune at the shrine. His mane of distressed hair, the fake fur sweatshirt color, the glitter, lack of warm clothes on a cold evening, and exposed backside somehow all added up to a good omen for the new year and new decade.
Oh, and inside my fortune, I found a (fake) gold plated trinket. Mine is considered especially lucky, a rake that symbolizes I will be “raking in” the money this year. I hope so!
This poster advertising a Buddhist Training camp and the Keio rail line is another only in Japan image. On the surface, it advertises the pleasure of attending Aescetic Training (sadhana) Experience Camp (修行体験合宿, shugyou taiken gasshuku). Above where I cropped the image, a speech bubble beckons with the words, “It’s so cold. My mind and body feel so refreshed.”
A lot of foreigners imagine Buddhism to be a benign philosophy about the world and human’s place within it. What is often overlooked abroad is the intense physical discipline that makes a daddy monk and two young acolytes freezing in the river a worthy image for a rail line seeking to boost ridership to a distant temple. The line between spirituality and perversion is thin indeed.
It wasn’t me! More info, photos and video. It’s amazing it took 50 policemen so long to capture him.
And the 2ch (ni channeru, the world’s largest online community) has gone nuts with artistic renditions: