My visit last Friday on the last half hour of the last day of this years Hagoita market gave me a few more photos I would like to share. These hagoita they sell are just so lovely, and all hand assembled (so no two should be perfectly identical) by different traditional merchants. Some day I would like to live in such a way that having one of these on my home shrine would be completely natural.
Sensoji temple is one of (if not the most) most popular tourists attractions in Japan and as such it is constantly crowded with huge crowds of people. I actually prefer to visit late, as late as possible to see the gorgeously lit up temple grounds with fewer people to distract me. On this cold December evening it was around nine in the evening but still plenty of people around!
Last week saw the three day annual Hagoita Market at Tokyo’s famous Sensoji Temple in Asakusa. I was late this year, only arriving at the last half hour of the last of the three days, very few people and a lot of the items already gone, a little bit different from the last time I visited back in 2012. The Hagoita a flat “rackets” or boards used to play a traditional game during the New Year’s season. Over time the haogita rackets got more and more decorated and these days you can see some giant ones absolutely not suitable for playing with. There are also a few stands selling the more traditional flat and simple boards along with the feathered balls that go with them. Although too late for this year, if you are in Tokyo in December next year pleas go have a look! More photos to come!
Aikido is probably one of the most famous of the many different forms of Martial Arts coming out of Japan. In the West it is often seen as the softest martial art, focusing on throws and using the opponents energy against him. Modern Competitive Aikido was founded in 1961 by Kenji Tomiki (1900-1979) who in his lifetime achieved 8th grade black belts in both Aikido and Judo. He studied under the legendary Morihei Ueshiba who was teaching Jujutsu and developing Aikido from it. Tomiki was the first of his students to reach the 8th level of the black balt, in 1940. He worked as a teacher at the university of Kenkoku in then Manchuria from 1938 to 1945 and spent three years in a Soviet “labor camp” after the war before returning to Japan in 1948 as part of a large prisoner release effort.
Master Tomiki died in December 1979 and his grave is the town where he was born, Kakunodate, in Akita Predecture. If you are one of the millions worldwide who study Aikido, be sure to look up this tomb the next time you visit Akita!