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.
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.