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Posts Tagged ‘sukunahikona’

During the past 2 months, my freshly married husband and I have been traveling through Asia. Our first stop was Japan, an amazing country. The people are extremely polite and everything is very well organized. And especially in the north, nature was beautiful. Of course I’ve been having my eyes open for all craft-related stuff, and in the coming posts I’d like to share some things with you.

It started already the first day in Tokyo, when we visited a special shrine. Some background info: a shrine is the place of worship for Shinto believers, the indigenous religion of Japan. It is quite complicated to grasp for someone brought up in a different culture, but it has a lot to do with ancestry and connecting present to past. The shrine that we came across was a small one, dedicated to a god called Sukunahikona-mikoto. He is the god of medicine but is also famous as a guardian of women. Once a year he is honoured in a very special way, and the ingredients for that are tofu and needles. During a ‘needle memorial’ or ‘hari-kuyo’, women express their gratitude for the past year by bringing used sewing needles and sticking them into tofu! Unfortunately it was not the time of year and we couldn’t see this happening in real life, but already the thought of it makes me happy. :-)

The shrine outside and in:

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