masochism

Summer festivals combine sacred, music, and eye candy

Not to mention group masochism to carry those heavy “portable” shrines.

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Are no pants days really over for this year?

My interest in Shinto practice continues to deepen. I love a religion that brings the rice harvest to the city, and instructs men to go pants-less in public. Certainly there are many particularities I am still unfamiliar with.  The repetitive flute and metal percussion music puts me in a trance, and opens me to the possibility that these gods inhabit my neighborhood and are responsible for my daily meals. But ideas and concepts would be nothing without the flagrant masochism and exhibitionism central to the rituals.

It’s like the Catholic Easter passion, but better because of its multiplicity. There is more than one suffering man, and more than one god. If this is pagan, I am unable to resist. I will ask the gods this year to decontaminate the rice harvest.

Praying- or just showing off- in cold waterfall on last day of 2010

Asahi newspaper explains that this young man is enduring a cold waterfall at Osaka’s Shoukouji temple (勝光寺) on the last day of 2010 to ask for spiritual intervention to secure a job. I wonder if he’s not just flaunting his body with “training” a euphemism for exhibitionist masochism. (Thanks to husband for providing this important news image and story).

Whatever the story is, I can imagine no better image to start off the new year.

Happy 2011 everyone!

Winter naked festival

My Japanese tipster, aka “the husband,” pointed me to this news story and these incredible photos about Hokkaido’s “misogi omatsuri” or festival.

I am not sure what the water is about, but it must certainly add to the masochism that Japanese are often fond of. Making this spiritual event all the more “moe,” only four men perform the ritual while everyone else watches them.

Next year in Hokkaido!