November 17, 2013

Bryan's Shichi-go-san!

Shichi-go-san was on the 15th, and we made our trip up to the Shinto shrine yesterday! I know I haven't finished sharing my sewing posts yet, but I wanted to share the Shichi-go-san photos right away. 

The main Shichi-go-san Taisai ceremony was actually the previous weekend, but I became very ill, so we had to postpone and schedule the ceremony to this weekend (the shrine takes reservations all month long). Which worked out for the best, since we didn't have to contend with a crowd, there was less rain, and I had more time to make small additions to our kimono ensembles (and of course, rest and recover).

This is my favorite photo! Somehow it feels sweetly loving to hold my son while he is tugging on my kimono collar! I feel like the feeling of him holding my collar is a sensation that will become a sweet memory for me. Please don't grow up too quickly, Bryan!
It was a 2 hour drive to the Tsubaki Grand Shrine, we left a little early so we could look around and take some photos. Unfortunately I couldn't find my camera, and many of my cell phone photos ended up blurry without me realizing.

I had already decided I would wear the same chirimen rangiku kimono I wore for the Seattle Kimono Jack 2012, but Bryan sealed my decision when I tried it on and he ran up to me, gasped, and said "Mommy! You're a princess!!" D'awww! So sweet, my little prince is such a charmer!

This time I wore my new gold rangiku zouri, a white and gold brocade han'eri, and white brocade-like date'eri.

Bryan's kimono also had a kiku patterned brocade collar, and a light blue date'eri of rangiku rinzu silk. Even though it isn't seen, his heko obi underneath the hifu vest is also the same color of blue. Chrysanthemums are in bloom in our neighborhood right now, and we have been admiring them when we go on our daily walks, so kiku pattern theme seemed appropriate for us.

Bryan did really well on the long drive up north. But I should have left his vest off until we got there, he unfortunately became wrinkly after the long drive. His little stuffed animals are special, the cat used to belong to me and the dog belonged to my husband when we first met in high school.

I think seeing a Shinto shrine outside of Japan is a rare thing, so I wanted to share some photos around the shrine grounds. We did not wander around much, but we were able to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere. Above is the Emaden, a place to hang ema plaques on which wishes are written.

This is a place for attaching omikuji. Omikuji are fortune telling paper strips. The fortunes are randomly drawn, ranging from good to bad fortune. People tie them here or on trees to either ward away the bad omen or encourage the good omen. You can see one in the tree above, and there were other little trees full of omikuji around the shrine.

Unfortunately it is blurry, but I this is a gravesite dedicated to Sarutahiko Okami, who is also enshrined in the main Japan branch of Tsubaki Grand Shrine in Mie prefecture. You can see a statue of Sarutahiko Okami holding his spear.

A shinboku, sacred tree, on the bank of the Pilchuck River. Covered in moss, the shape of the tree is beautiful yet mysterious. The river winds itself around the grounds of the shrine, here they do misogi shuuhou, purification ritual in a waterfall or moving water. You may have seen pictures or videos of this practice, such as in movies, where people will stand under the pounding waterfall wearing nothing but a headband and fundoshi loincloth, chanting and meditating. At this shrine, they do misogi shuuhou every morning in this river, even during the bitterly cold snowy winter! 
Here is the main torii gate and entrance to the shrine's main hall. To the right (off camera) is the temizuya, place to wash the hands.
Temizu is like a simplified version of misogi shuuhou. I went first and showed Bryan, pour water in left hand, then right hand, then pour in left hand again, sip water and rise out mouth, pour left hand again, and let remaining water pour down the ladle's handle. Bryan did not want to sip water in his hand, but the very cold water felt good in the hands!

While I couldn't get better photos, I am happy to have a family photo!

Even though wrinkled from the long drive, Bryan is still very cute and comfortable in his kimono! He said he really liked walking around. I was worried he would have difficulty walking in zouri, so I made suberi-tome bands for his zouri. It is a clip on elastic band that helps hold the zouri on the child's heel.

I wanted the bands to blend in and not be noticeable, so I used the same fabric as the hanao for the snaps, and same stretch fabric as the tabi to cover the elastic. Looking at the photos, the bands on the zouri are barely seen!

He did take small shuffling steps, and slipped out of his zouri a few times, but he says "its fun walking!" Behind us in this photo is an entrance that leads down to the river.

He is so adorable!!

On either side of the torii are komainu statues. I do not know why there are coins in the open mouth of the "a" komainu.

At the front of the shrine hall is where the seishiki sampai (like a prayer or wish) is done. We did not have a wish, but did drop a coin in the offeratory box and tried to shake the suzu bell rope, but it did not make a noise!

And then we were led into the shrine by the attendants for registration. There was one other family that came at the same time as us, with a 5 year old boy and 3 year old girl.

Upstairs is a tatami room with a low table where we sat and signed our registration papers and made donations to the shrine. Our information is used for when the Shinto priest chants, and the children's names are told to the kami.

The lovely feature of the registration room is the tokonoma where wooden statues of Sarutahiko-Okami and his wife Ame-no-Uzume-no-Mikoto are displayed.

During the ceremony itself, we didn't take any photos. We were seated downstairs in the main hall on shogi chairs. The priest came out wearing his eboshi and white kariginu over purple hakama. Bryan gasped and said "Mommy! Look his kimono!!" Maybe he wants to wear kariginu sometime, Bryan seemed to really like it! The priest performed his ritual, waving the wand of paper shide strips over us, and a very long, nearly monotone melodic chant from a scroll. It was a very traditional Shinto ceremony.

Near the beginning of the ceremony, the priest drums on a large taiko drum. Normally Bryan likes taiko drums, but his was sitting very close, and it was very loud! He ended up climbing into my lap and snuggled close to me for the remainder of the ceremony!

The priest also had a bit of a cough. Bryan has been mimicking me all week long because of my cough (he thinks it is funny), so when the priest began clearing his throat and coughing a little, Bryan would immediately do the same, like a little parrot! It was sort of cute. Small children can get away with things like that.

Afterwards, the adults were invited over the the side of the hall where they were given purified sake, which we kindly refused since we don't drink. Then the children were given a special omamori amulet and chitose-ame, thousand year candy, in the characteristicly decorated bag.

We did take a photo inside the shrine's main hall after receiving his bag.

Silly boy!

It was beginning to get dark as we left, and we had a long drive home, so we ended up getting fast food for dinner! French fries and finest kimono don't exactly go hand-in-hand, but oh well!

Here is the omamori amulet that Bryan received. It says "Shichi-go-san omamori", the backside says "Tsubaki Grand Shrine".

The bag is decorated with auspicious motifs of longevity. The backside of the bag has an image of children.

Inside the bag is chitose-ame, as well as American candy, Goldfish crackers, and small toys.

Chitose-ame is sugarcane candy, powdery on the outside, and covered in edible clear rice paper film. The film fell off immediately.

Such a serious expression!!
Bryan tried the chitose ame this morning, but he would not eat it. It tastes like sugar, but I don't think he liked the powdery coating. 

In the end, we had an enjoyable Shichi-go-san! Congratulations, baby boy!
I will soon post more about sewing his hifu set later, I am still a little bit sick. Please look forward to more posts!

1 comment:

  1. Omedetou Bryan kun !! His kimono is really wonderful !!! And you look stunning in your beautiful chrysanthemums houmongi !! I'm impressed so much ! Thank you so much for sharing with us ! (*^。^*)♥