Life, Culture, Events
Today was Seijin No Hi (Coming of Age Day). I headed to Meiji Jingu to take some photos. On Seijin No Hi, many twenty year old young women wear kimonos for the ceremony, and they typically go to a shrine or visit other public places. The result is a very good opportunity for photographers to capture a colorful, traditional side of Japan. But this year, I confess, I wasn’t that interested in kimonos. After some time wandering around Harajuku and feeling bored, I was glad for the distraction of Bob Sapp showing up. Judging by the movement of the crowd toward him, I wasn’t the only one.
Bob Sapp was a household name in Japan a few years ago — a K1 fighter and popular TV personality. I haven’t seen him on TV for awhile, but he did have a crew with cameras and handlers following him around.
I’ve heard before that he’s a “gentle giant,” and he seemed that way. He spoke softly, stopped to pose with fans, and hoisted up kids for happy parents.
Shichigosan (7-5-3) refers to certain ages when you stop and celebrate children. When girls turn 3 and 7, they dress up in kimonos and have their photos taken (and many visit a shrine, but we didn’t do that). Our girls had portraits done in a studio, but the owner is kind enough to allow parents to take their own shots during the breaks. I love this photo of the twins together. You can see more on my other blog at [Photosensibility.com](http://www.photosensibility.com/2009/11/20/shichigosan/).
Our kids had their annual Sports Day at school last weekend. The running events are the highlights for many kids and parents. Our kids had fun in their events and smiled all day, but some of their friends felt serious pressure to win. Sports Day is mostly set up to avoid that pressure. The kids race four at a time, so there is no “champion.” Of course, all the kids know who is the fastest in their class anyway. Still one of my daughter’s friends went out every day for two weeks and sprinted up a nearby hill. She confided to my daughter that her mother really wanted her to win. The things we do to our kids…
I created a video showing some of the best footage from the hip-hop dance competition at the festival I stumbled into last weekend. I don’t know the right hip-hop vocabulary, but I would say it was a break dancing competition (but Wikipedia gave me lots of other terms that described what I saw, like “downrock, power moves, etc.” Visit the link, watch, and fill me in. I’ve posted the high definition video on my [other blog](http://www.photosensibility.com/blog/): [Hip-hop dancing in Japan, video](http://www.photosensibility.com/2009/08/28/hip-hop-dancing-japan-video/).
If you click through, please vote for it if you like it. I’ve seen lots of low quality hip-hop videos from Japan on YouTube, so it’d be nice to have this go around instead.
A crowd of people surge up the steps of the main shrine at Kamakura (Kamakura Hachimangu). An immense line of people were waiting. They were allowed forward in groups of several hundred at a time. Video displays explained that preparations had begun at 5am. Japanese people visit shrines at the beginning of the year hoping for luck (basically wanting to get get “right” in a (ambiguous but desired) practical-spiritual sense. I’ve heard that 80 percent of all Japanese will visit a shrine during this period of the year. Most will claim a religion (usually Buddhism), but they do not consider themmselves “believers.”