Wednesday, 28 July 2010

RED: The Gateway to a Sacred Space 伏見稲荷大社 本宮祭

Googling for a place or event to freshened up myself between tensed weekdays with a deadline ahead. A series of red lanterns and torii had caught my eyes. There will be a festival at Fushimi-Inari Taisha - a Japanese Shrine famous for thousands of torii spreading across the mountain. I have been to the shrine before during the maple leaves season, but only find out about this Motomiya-sai(本宮祭) for the first time. There are no chance for me to say no to explore something new in Kansai, as this is my last year staying in this area.

Summer is the seoson of festival in Japan. You can think of summer beach party, fireworks, musical, while in Japan, the festival can be something holy. Gion-Matsuri(祇園祭), Tenjinn-Matsuri(天神祭) are 2 famous festival during summer in Kansai. The same applied for Motomiya-sai.

The Motomiya-sai festival fetes the deity of the Fushimi Inari Shrine, the main branch of all the Inari shrines in Japan. Besides hundreds of hawker stalls selling a variety of foods, drinks and souvenirs as you would find when visiting a summer festival, you would find thousands of paper lanterns lighted up along the path way to the shrine. There also lanterns painted by famous painter, students, and local residents displayed around the shrine. The summer heat at day time is killing, but summer breeze at night is the best timing to explore exotic Japanese festival, great hawker foods, and lantern arts, all in one place. And if you are a photog like me, definitely a great place to catch a frame.

A reminder here, don't forget to bring along a tripod!! which I forgot. The results - lots of blur images sitting inside my hard drive waiting to be deleted. It was pain as a photographer without proper gears, and lots of frustration with faulty images. But I could not agree more that what make a great photographer is his vision and not the gears his own. And photography should be fun. Like what Joe McNally wrote in his recent blog:

"Like I say, ya gotta have fun doing this, otherwise there’s no point to it, ’cause if you don’t have an absolute love affair with photography, it’s just too hard and frustrating to keep doing. I try to accept success and failure in equal and unequal measure, because if you stick with it, you know what the reward is?

You get to do it again."

So, be patient with some blur, and noisy photos here in this post. They are not perfect, but they are my vision, they are real, and they tell a great story. And I hope you like the story.

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