Posted by Tom Foremski - June 5, 2008
It's raining. But we have umbrellas as we make our way to the Kanda Myojin shrine where many businessmen go to receive a good luck ritual blessing from the priests.
There are quite a few IT companies in the area and this shrine has a special talisman that is in the shape of a microchip.
We created the American Japanese Bloggers Association (AJBA) for the purpose of the ritual blessing and I was appointed chairman. The ritual consisted of prayers, drums, and the swishing of branches. I sit on a stool and am handed a small branch with leaves attached. I recieve it with both hands and place it on a small altar with the end pointing to the back of the shrine. I bow twice, and clap my hands twice, I bow again and sit down.
If you ask Japanese people which religion they belong to, 90 per cent say Budhist, and 90 per cent say Shinto. They combine the two. Shinto celebrates nature and it belives that there is a god in everything, a stone, a tree. In Shinto there are 8 million gods. I much prefer this form of pantheism to the monotheism of Christianity with its angry and evangelical "sky-god" as Gore Vidal terms it. [Please see the excellent: Gore Vidal Monotheism and Its Discontents]
We walk around the shrine, I love the many roofs. We find a small tea shop nearby and have some sweet Japanese porridge and some grean tea.