August 14, 2007

We call it a


The children have heads crowned with leaves. I am told that they are gods. They look more of Greek or Roman than of Japanese deity ilk to me.

"The fire is sacred; a symbol of friendship and unity" says the eager college student.
"What do they call this kind of fire?" I ask.
"They call it... a campfire."
"Oh." I think back to earlier when a teacher laughed at me for saying that if I went camping with even a couple friends, we would have a fire. Campfire: mundane katakana word, bigger ceremonial implications. The fire week cook our food on is much smaller, separate, and surrounded by cement.
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This article helped me understand ritual in everyday Japanese life a little bit better. It also helped me understand why I have to come to an empty teachers room every day during the summer.
I was going to write about how the Japanese are obsessed with harmony, but that will do for now, pig, that'll do.