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New Year in Japan and the temple bells

BobM

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
V Frances; V Podensis; V Francigena; V Portugues; V Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg. Jaffa - Jerusalem
I probably won't get to walk the Kumano Kodo this year, so I am reading a few books set in Japan instead. I have just started 'Beauty and Sadness' by the Nobel Laureate writer Yasunari Kawabata.

When the book was written in 1975 (according to the book), the sound of temple bells from all over Japan was played over the radio on New Year's Eve, always ending with the Kyoto bells. The commentators for the program would know all the bells by their sound and apparently became quite emotional when some particular bell sounded that resonated (sorry, could not help myself) for them.

What a beautiful custom! I wonder if it is still followed?

Best wishes for 2021

Bob M
 
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kazrobbo

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I probably won't get to walk the Kumano Kodo this year, so I am reading a few books set in Japan instead. I have just started 'Beauty and Sadness' by the Nobel Laureate writer Yasunari Kawabata.

When the book was written in 1975 (according to the book), the sound of temple bells from all over Japan was played over the radio on New Year's Eve, always ending with the Kyoto bells. The commentators for the program would know all the bells by their sound and apparently became quite emotional when some particular bell sounded that resonated (sorry, could not help myself) for them.

What a beautiful custom! I wonder if it is still followed?

Best wishes for 2021

Bob M
Don't give up on walking in Japan, Bob. In a previous thread of yours, you intimated you may not ever fulfil that yearning so I'm glad you're now saying 'this year'....
Keep finding those avenues which support the goal...& would add an extra layer of interest once you do finally touch down in the Land of the Rising Sun.
I'm currently reading 'Japan on Foot' by Mary King...it's not in danger of troubling the 'My Top Reads' rankings but filling the brief of rekindling the drive until we can get out there again.
👣 🌏
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2017, 2018, 2019
The 2020-2021 NHK TV broadcast

The clip opens at the end of the gaudy "red & white" variety show, which is a staple of NHK's New Year programming. The more solemn broadcasts from temples around the country follow. The second temple in this clip is one of the 88 temples that comprise the Shikoku pilgrimage. The announcer mentions that pilgrim numbers were down by 80% in 2020 because of the pandemic.

For a spectacle reminiscent of the botafumeiro in Santiago, you need to go to Chion-in in Kyoto. The monks there take bell striking to a new level:
 

BobM

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
V Frances; V Podensis; V Francigena; V Portugues; V Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg. Jaffa - Jerusalem
Japan is full of wonderful crafts and traditions that are virtually unknown outside the country. In many cases, tradition and craftsmanship is valued above all else, regardless of cost/economics. The Chijimi tradition is a good example. I first came across it in another book by Yasunari Kawabata ('Snow Country').

Here is another remarkable example of endurance and tradition that I read in a newspaper:
Naomi Hasegawa’s family sells toasted mochi out of a small, cedar-timbered shop next to a rambling old shrine in Kyoto, Japan. The family started the business to provide refreshments to weary travellers coming from across Japan to pray for pandemic relief – in the year 1000. ‘‘Their No.1 priority is carrying on,’’ the family says. ‘‘Each generation is like a runner in a relay race. What’s important is passing the baton.’’

BTW, I am well into 'Beauty and Sadness' and a slight warning is in order about this book. It contains some very confronting material. I would not give it to my maiden aunt as a Christmas present.

Bob M
 

BobM

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
V Frances; V Podensis; V Francigena; V Portugues; V Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg. Jaffa - Jerusalem
Excuse me for rabbiting on a bit more about Japan, but it helps to explain my desire to visit Japan again and to immerse myself a little deeper in its culture by walking there.

Kawabata says that even everyday gossip in Kyoto or Osaka was usually very polite (he wrote in 1975). "All sorts of things - mountains and rivers, houses, streets, heavenly bodies, even fish and vegetables - were referred to with polite expressions."

Connections sometimes come from surprising quarters. Reading the quote in my previous post about Naomi Hasegawa's 1000-year-old business reminded me of my first very long walk: the Camino de Santiago from SJPDP to Santiago. On that walk, I was very conscious that I walked in the footsteps of pilgrims who, one by one, passed the baton of pilgrimage down the years, until, at last, the beautiful burden settled on my own imperfect shoulders to be passed on by my own words and deeds to unknown, but deeply familiar, pilgrims who would walk in my footsteps.

Bob M
 
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sopranocorry

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CP 2019
I probably won't get to walk the Kumano Kodo this year, so I am reading a few books set in Japan instead. I have just started 'Beauty and Sadness' by the Nobel Laureate writer Yasunari Kawabata.

When the book was written in 1975 (according to the book), the sound of temple bells from all over Japan was played over the radio on New Year's Eve, always ending with the Kyoto bells. The commentators for the program would know all the bells by their sound and apparently became quite emotional when some particular bell sounded that resonated (sorry, could not help myself) for them.

What a beautiful custom! I wonder if it is still followed?

Best wishes for 2021

Bob M
That sounds like an interesting book. I will endeavour to order it from my library and read it too. Sounds lije a very interesting custom. Many tganks Corry
 

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