Diary on a Trip to Ise – PART 8

When I was driving toward a highway leaving Ise behind, where I stayed for three days, I noticed there were a lot of signboards with the word “Uji(宇治)” or “Yamada(山田)” on them. I considered what “Uji-Yamada” really meant. Some local person told me that old people living in Ise had called the Ise region “Yamada” since long time ago. When they go to Ise, they say “I’m going to Yamada,” not “Ise.”

  • leave A behind  Aを後にする
  • notice 気がつく
  • signboard 看板
  • consider  よく考える
  • region 地方

In the study of folklore, it is said that oral tradition often depicts the ancient world correctly. Though there are many theories on the origin of the name Yamada, what came to my mind was the word “confrontation.”

  • folklore 民俗
  • oral 口の
  • depict 描く
  • theory 説
  • confrontation 対立

According to my spiritual vision, the area before the main gate of Geku used to be called Yamada, while the area around Naiku Uji. One day in an ancient time, one of the three stone pillars that acted as a medium for the presence of God was brought from Mt.Hakusan to Geku, and after this many rites and rituals came to be held there. At this time, Naiku didn’t exist yet. The foundation of Naiku is relatively recent.

  • according to A Aによると
  • ancient 古代の
  • stone pillar 石柱
  • medium 媒介物
  • exist 存在する
  • relatively  比較的に
  • recent 最近の

Because the stone pillar was one and only, wooden pillars of Hinoki, a Japanese cypress, were substituted for it and put under the grounds of the main buildings of Geku and Naiku as special holy objects of worship. This pillar is called “Imibashira(忌柱)” “Ameno-mi-hasira(天ノ御柱)” or “Ameno-mi-hakari-no-hashira(天ノ御量柱).” I can “see” the ancient stone pillar brought from Mt. Hakusan has been buried deep under the ground of a certain holy area of the precincts of Geku.

  • substitute 代用する
  • object 対象
  • worship 崇拝
  • precinct 敷地

The shinto ritual where a new wooden pillar is put under the ground of the main building of Geku and Naiku every twenty years is the most important of all. It is a secret ritual held by high-ranked shinto priests at midnight.

  • every A years A年毎に
  • high-ranked 高位の
  • priest 神官

I feel that ancient people in Ise lived only in the area in front of Geku. Naiku was surrounded by a huge forest. Ruins of the Jomon Era such as pit dwellings must be discovered at the Yamada district where Geku is located. The name of Yamada is derived from the transition of pronunciation from “Yamatai” to “Yah-ma-tai” to “Yah-ma-da” to “Yamada.” That is, Yamada was part of Yamataikoku(邪馬台国), the historical Japanese state thought to have existed during the late Yayoi period.

  • ruin 遺跡
  • era 時代
  • pit dwelling 竪穴式住居
  • be derived from A Aに由来する
  • transition 移り変わり

The sound of Yamataikoku lies in the name of Yamada. Yamataikoku that the Gishi-wajin-den(魏志倭人伝) refers to  ruled the regions, ranging from Ise to the whole region of Kumano, and its capital was near Mt. Miwa in Nara prefecture. I feel that Himiko(卑弥呼) is the name of a position and there were successive Himikos. Yamatohime-no-mikoto(倭姫命)was one of such Himikos.

  • refer to A Aに言及する
  • range 範囲に及ぶ
  • successive 歴代の

It was when Princess Yamato-hime came to the present Ise, carrying part of Amaterasu-oho-mi-kami(天照太御神)on her back that the area around Naiku was developed. Uji (氏)clan of a privileged class, came to Ise from Nara and developed the present district of Uji(宇治). The name of “宇治” comes from that of the clan, “氏.”

  • develop 開発する
  • clan 族
  • privilleged class 特権階級

There was an emotional conflict for a long time between the people who had lived in Yamada district since ancient times with their indigenous faith, and the aristocracies who came to live in Uji, with a river lying between. It can be said that the confrontation between them corresponded to that between Kunitsu-kami (国津神)and Amatsu-kami(天津神). I feel that people in Yamada district had exchanges with those in Isobe(磯部) district,  a seaside town beyond a mountain, because they also kept the second stone pillar of Mt.Hakusan.

  • conflict 摩擦
  • indigeous 土着の
  • aristocracy 貴族
  • transcription 転写
  • corrspond 相当する
  • exchange 交流

I left for another shrine, Takihara-no-miya shrine(瀧原宮), enjoying the ancient view my holy spirit showed me.

To be continued.

  • another もう一つの
  • view 眺め
  • holy 聖なる

生かして頂いて ありがとう御座位ます

I Ka Shi Te I Ta Da I Te  A Ri Ga To U Go Za I Ma Su

I AM GRATEFUL FOR BEING KEPT ALIVE.

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Diary on a Trip to Ise – PART 7

After finishing my job, on the last day of my stay in Ise, I changed my clothes, put on the best suit I had brought with me and headed for Naiku(内宮)of Ise Grand Shrine(伊勢神宮). It is not how much your suit is that matters but how much consideration and thoughtfulness you try to show to God, which is the very offerings to God.

  • head for A Aに向かう
  • whether S+V SがVするかどうか
  • consideration  配慮
  • thoughtfulness 思い遣り
  • offering 捧げ物

Every time I visit Naiku, I often see a “guru” taking his several female believers along with him. One of the gurus I saw was wearing tattered shirt and jeans and carrying a backpack with his hair in disorder. He put an empty bin with a Sakaki plant in it on the top of the hedge in front of the main building of Ise Grand Shrine without permission and read a shinto prayer aloud. The female believers behind him looked ashamed. Other visitors in suit were directing a suspicious look at him. They looked sad because the guru was ruining their special occasions.

  • every time S+V SがVする度に
  • tattered ボロボロの
  • empty 空の
  • hedge 垣根
  • permission 許可
  • ashamed 恥じて
  • ruin 台無しにする

I perceived an ascetic monk who died crazed possessing the guru, so I thought words would be wasted on him. It is shameful that such weird persons do what they want at other shrines than the main building of Ise Grand Shrine where security guards keep an eye. If you find such a strange guru in front of a main building of a shrine, it’s better to make a bow at a distance or visit there again later because while you close your eyes and concentrate behind such a person, it’s possible for you to receive his spiritual dirt.

  • perceive 知覚する
  • ascetic monk 修行僧
  • crazed 狂って
  • shameful 残念な
  • keep an eye 見張る
  • at a distance 距離を置いて
  • dirt 垢

I went to the reception desk of the shrine office to hand over all of my Ofuda in my house because I had had a divine message that I should take them to Naiku. The five Ofuda should’ve been light, but when I put them on the hands of a priest, his hands were lowered under their heavy weight. The Ofuda were mediums for deities to settle on, so their accumulated spiritual magnetism must’ve been huge. At this time, I managed to return the holy energy of Kunitsu Kami(国津神) to Naiku.

  • reception 受付
  • hand over A Aを渡す
  • divine 神の
  • lower 下げる
  • medium 媒介物

After this, I went to the guard office to apply for a special visit that allows you to go inside the hedge in front of the main building of Naiku. But a ceremony that celebrates the fifth anniversary of the Emperor’s marriage were being performed at the time, so I prayed to God in front of the main building of Naiku and headed for Geku(外宮), instead.

  • apply for A Aを申し込む
  • allow A to~  Aが〜するのを許す
  • celebrate 祝う

When I got to the guard office in front of the main building of Geku to apply for a special visit, a pleasant, young shinto priest with short hair made the arrangement. He led me inside the small door and performed a purification ceremony with salt. I walked a path in the left side of the building led by him, passed through the gate, and stepped into the inside of the hedge.

  • get to A Aに着く
  • pleasant 爽やかな
  • purification 浄化
  • path 小道

The white stones on the ground were much larger than I had thought. Walking after him, I was looking down all the way. His wooden shoes with a high heel sometimes inclined because the ground paved with large white stones was uneven. I got a little bit worried about him.

  • all the way ずっと
  • wooden 木製の
  • incline 傾く
  • get worried 心配する

I stood in front of the main building and prayed to God. I got refreshed very much. I didn’t hear any construction noise outside somehow. Only a silent world was there. The white large stones were giving off special magnetism. The thought energy of priests and visitors was accumulated in the stones. I suppose that one of the reasons that all the buildings and stones of Ise Grand Shrine are renewed every twenty years is that the memory capacity of the stones fill in twenty years. Then, I left for the last shrine to visit that was located on the way back home from Geku.

To be continued.

  • get refreshed さっぱりする
  • construction 工事
  • silent 静寂の
  • give off A Aを放つ
  • suppose 思う
  • renew 新しくする
  • memory capacity 記憶容量
  • locate 位置する

生かして頂いて ありがとう御座位ます

I Ka Shi Te I Ta Da I Te  A Ri Ga To U Go Za I Ma Su

I AM GRATEFUL FOR BEING KEPT ALIVE.

Diary on a Trip to Ise PART 6

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Then next, we visited Saminaga shrine(佐美長神社) near Izawa-no-miya(伊雑宮). I had never been to the shrine. It was a small shrine without a resident shinto priest, but it was very clean and pure. What I always feel amazing about Ise Grand Shrine is that any small shrine belonging to Ise Grand Shrine is spiritually clean and pure. The style of the main buildings of these small shrines are the same, a miniature of the main buildings of Naiku and Geku. But just preserving the traditional architectural style doesn’t keep the shrines spiritually clean.

  • shinto priest 神官
  • miniature ミニチュア
  • preserve 保持する
  • spiritually 霊的に

Well, what keeps them spiritually clean and pure? I gave it a thought walking in the precinct of Saminaga shrine surrounded by trees. Looking down at the grave path, I found that there was no fallen leaves on it. There being a lot of trees in the precinct, a lot of leaves should fall on the ground. Yes, there is someone who keeps it clean with care every day. Such labor and cost for the maintenance would be huge.

  • give A a thought Aを考えてみる
  • precinct 境内
  • surround  囲む
  • grave 砂利
  • huge 莫大な

In the World of Reality, it is human beings with God inside that make the holy energy manifest itself by taking care of shrines which are made from natural trees and stones. Human beings are a precious, important part of nature.

  • holy 神聖な
  • manifest oneself 顕現する
  • precious 尊い
  • part 一部

The next day, we went to MIshio-dono shrine(御塩殿神社), where salt is made used at Ise Grand Shrine. It owns a salt farm and they make salt by boiling sea water with a large caldron. Unexpectedly, the seawater for the salt farm is taken from Isuzu river. There is a water intake near the shrine, where the river flowing through the town and seawater join together. I got worried a little, thinking that domestic wasted water might mix in the river, for I had thought that the seawater is taken at some deserted coast.

  • own 所有する
  • farm 田んぼ
  • caldron 釜
  • intake 河口
  • domestic 家庭の
  • deserted 人気のない

During the two days of my trip, I visited not a few small shrines. Every time I visited a shrine, I just left my gratitude toward God there, saying “I am grateful for being kept alive.” As I offered my gratitude for being kept alive to the shrines I visited over and over, I was gradually filled with energy mentally and physically. I felt as if God said to me “Then, I’ll keep you alive.”

  • not a few A たくさんのA
  • every time S+V SがVする度に
  • gratitude 感謝の気持ち
  • fill 満たす

The next day was the last day of my trip to Ise. After finishing my work, I was going to undergo a special shinto ceremony at Naiku and Geku of Ise Grand Shrine for the first time. Having made donations to Ise Grand Shrine many times before, I had a lot of special tickets for the ceremony. But I had failed to receive the ceremony because of timing and its dress code. I said goodbye to Mr.H in front of the entrance of Geku. It was getting dark outside.

To be continued.

  • undergo 受ける
  • ceremony 儀式
  • donation 献金
  • fail to~ 〜しない

生かして頂いて ありがとう御座位ます

I Ka Shi Te I Ta Da I Te  A Ri Ga To U Go Za I Ma Su

I AM GRATEFUL FOR BEING KEPT ALIVE

Diary on a Trip to Ise – Part 5

We left Izawa shrine for Izawa-no-miya. Until we got there, I was feeling as if I was carrying something heavy on my back. It’s like I was carrying on my back Kunitsu-kami (国津神)or a number of ancient nameless deities. As I was walking the approach to the main building of Izawa-no-miya, I felt my body was getting lighter and lighter. There is a well on the left side at the halfway point of the approach. The thought that the princess Yamato-hime made her ablutions at the well a long long time ago impressed me very much.

  • leave A for B  Bに向けてAを出発する
  • as if S+V SがVするかのように
  • a number of A 無数の
  • deity 神
  • approach 参道
  • ablution 沐浴

Since Heian period, a public movement by local residents has been taking place over and over, which advocates that Izawa-no-miya is the true main shrine in which Amaterasu-o-ho-mi-kami resides. In Edo period, about 50 townspeople who asserted that Naiku of Ise Grand Shrine was lower in rank than Izawa-no-miya were arrested for defamation of royalty and were exiled to an island. It is said that some of them died there with much regret.

  • movement 運動
  • advocate 主張する
  • reside 住む
  • assert 主張する
  • defamation 中傷
  • exile 追放する
  • regret 後悔

The Watarai family(度会家), a representative shintoist, comes from the area Izawano-mi-ya is located. They claimed that Toyouke-o-kami(豊受大神)of Geku of Ise Grand Shrine, Ameno-minaka-nushi-no-kami(天御中主神) and Kunitokotachi-o-kami(国常立太神) are the same god and it’s one of the highest ranking deities. That is, the people’s passion for the deity of Izawa-no-miya has been very strong down the ages.

  • representative 代表的な
  • claim 主張する
  • down the ages 大昔から

Why is it so? This has to do with the rice harvest culture of Japan. A lot of rice has been produced from the area since a long time ago. This is why the local people’s faith in the deity of Izawa-no-miya has been very strong. The relative affluence of the area has enabled them to have mental allowance.

  • have to do with A Aと関係がある
  • harvest 収穫
  • produce 生産する
  • enable 可能にする
  • allowance 余裕

In fact, even when people living in areas other than Isobe-cho were suffering from poor harvest, only people living in Isobe-cho or other nearby areas could have a good harvest and prevent insect affection, as long as they never fail to perform religious ceremonies. This is because the area has had the shrine Amatera-su-oho-mi-kami resides and she blessed humans in this World of Reality with rice, which originally comes from the World of Gods. The history of Izawa-no-miya is much longer than that  of Naiku of two thousands years. I feel that the excavation and research of the site can trace the first year of the foundation of Izawa-no-miya back to Jomon Period.

  • other than A A以外の
  • suffer 苦しむ
  • prevent 防ぐ
  • never fail to~ 必ず〜する
  • bless A with B AにBを授ける
  • excavation  発掘
  • trace 辿る

The official mark of Izawa-no-miya has been a six-pointed star formed from two equilateral triangles for a long, long time. While the mark, Star of David, has been made much of in Judaism, Izawa-no-miya exceeds Judaism by far in terms of its long history of using the mark as its heraldic emblem.

  • official 公式の
  • triangle 三角
  • Star of David ダビデの星
  • make much of A Aを重要視する
  • exceed 超える
  • Judaism ユダヤ教
  • heraldic emblem 紋章

In the Bible, Manna is described as the food which descended from above and multiplied in the vase. Rice also increases in volume when it’s put in water and heated. Rice is pronounced as “Kome” and Manna as “Mana” in Japanese. I feel these two words refer to the same thing.

  • describe A as B AをBと描く
  • descend 降りる
  • refer to A Aを指す

The word money is derived from Manna. In Japan, the market of rice in the Kansai region is said to be the origin of modern pricing financial derivative. The currency that humans should use and God would approve of must’ve been food. Food rots when saved long, so people cannot help but distribute it before it rots.

  • be derived from A Aに由来する
  • region 地方
  • origin 起源
  • currency 貨幣
  • approve of A Aを認める
  • rot 腐る
  • distribute  配る

The pronunciation of Manna means “the most sacred thing” in Hawaii. I feel that a certain continent, which used to be on the Pacific Ocean in ancient times, was the center of rice farming. Some humans ran away from the continent before it sank in the water and managed to reach Hawaii and the offshore of Ise. Then they dispersed in every direction, holding the common memories in their hearts.

To be continued.

  • sacred 神聖な
  • certain ある
  • continent 大陸
  • the Pacific 太平洋
  • sink 沈む
  • offshore 沖
  • disperse 散る

生かして頂いて ありがとう御座位ます

I Ka Shi Te I Ta Da I Te  A Ri Ga To U Go Za I Ma Su

I AM GRATEFUL FOR BEING KEPT ALIVE