Sunday, November 20, 2005


SHICHI-GO-SAN


Last weekend we drove up the other side of the Lake to visit beautiful Taga shrine, coincidentally at the time of Shichi-Go-San (7-5-3), which is officially on the Nov 15th, but parents bring their children who are 7, 5 and 3 years old to the big local shrines all over Japan at around that date, on a day convenient for them.

Thus it happened that an hour or two before sunset in a clear sky we walked into the beautiful gingko-leaf-gilded precincts of the shrine when its grounds were busy with grandparents and parents in kimono together ushering formally unruly little humans in full kimono regalia into the sacred sanctums and trying to photograph them before banks of blossoms there, the children making every face and pose but their very own…

One little girl in red insisted on a two handed, three-fingered victory sign in every photo, one little boy scrunched up his face for all the future, even using his hands to achieve the maximum scrunch...

Brought back memories from only yesterday of all the times we'd taken Kasumi and Kitaya to their 7-5-3's... How quickly those precious times go by, leaving the you of now standing there amid the new festivities remembering, wishing somehow you could do it just once more...

Of course now we have Kaya and M&M...

8 comments:

Val said...

Lovely photos! Can you enlighten me as to why Japanese kids find it obligatory to make the victory sign in every photograph? I never found out why.

Dalene said...

It is striking to me how a person's personality can be so evident, right from the start. The little girl in red has the 'commitment to tradition but let's get on with it and be done with it', seriously pragmatic expression in her face and to her walk, whereas the boy is going to show up for every celebration and event in life because, 'you never know what is going to happen or what you might see, and it's got to be interesting' demeanor about him. She is all business, he is all about turning down the side roads. Both are enchanting people. The world needs both, the perfect balance of being.
Reminds me though of the scratchy, stiff, stupid little Easter dresses I was required to wear. If I could have gotten away with it, I would have made many funny faces for the camera. As soon as I became an adult, I refused to wear anything that had a ruffle to it, or was made of stiff scratchy fabric.
To be a parent to the little ones, just one more time, yes, I feel that now and again too.
I love the photographs of the laughing mother, there is so much love in her, and the two children! simply Priceless.

Tabor said...

I am particularly taken by the contrast of a Japanese mother in ancient dress with a cell phone camera! I also cannot imagine Japanese children being described as unruly. Independent maybe, but unruly?

Robert Brady said...

I meant unruly in the formal Japanese kid sense, of course.

Maethelwine said...

We went weekend before last. My daughter embarrassed her mother by insisting on dancing to the drumbeat. Then when the priest started chanting, Ema started in with questions at a volume at least equal to his. "Is he talking to god? What are they saying? Where is god? I can't see him!" I wasn't much help to Keiko, as I was too busy trying to stifle howls of laughter.

Mary Lou said...

Now who is Kitaya? ANd didnt you post Kaya's picture in her red kimono last year? was that at a 7-5-3 also?

Robert Brady said...

Kitaya is Keech's (our son, presently studying in Seattle) formal name. And yes, I did have a kimono foto of Kaya up, though I don't remember whether it was 7-5-3; I'll look for it and put the link to that post after this one.

Pam said...

When my daughter was 3 she clapped when the shrine maidens finished their dance and was seriously offended that no one else joined her in showing their appreciation with applause. I remember the priest shot her an annoyed look and made a point to later praise the children who sat silent and still throughout the whole ceremony.