Sunday, December 10, 2017

Hatsumiyamairi: Baby's First Shrine Visit Part II

It seemed only yesterday that we had boarded the Virgin America plane from LAX with our daughter Mia-Naoko at 32 days of age to fly north to Seattle for her Hatsumiyamairi at the Tsubaki Grand Shrine in Granite Falls Washington. Fast forward six years later, embarked once again on the same identical journey with our newborn son Luis-Makoto for his First Shrine Visit.
According to Shinto Tradition, boys are to arrive at the Shrine 31 days after birth. Had we lived in Japan or in the Seattle area this would be no problem. But being there are no physical Shinto Shrines in the Los Angeles area, our only option was to make the journey to the nation's only Shinto Shrine on the continental United States located near the Canadian border. The logistics of planning the visit complicated by our son's early birth by two weeks placed his 31st day smack in the middle of the Thanksgiving Holiday Air Fare & Hotel booking rush thus we would arrive two weeks later than originally planned. The important part is that we made it.
The last time our daughter Mia was there, she was an infant having her own Hatsumiyamairi so bringing her to where she had been blessed and to where her parents were married made this visit extra special. As in times before, we were happily greeted by the Guji (Head Priest) Rev. Koichi Barrish and Mrs. Barrish upon arrival. It is always a pleasure to see them. 
While photos were not taken during the actual ceremony, we can tell you that our son (with his parents and older sister present) was blessed in this important life cycle event to ensure his health and happiness in life as well as to express gratitude to our patron deities for his safe delivery through the recitation of prayer and the waving of the Tamagushi by Barrish Sensei. As with our daughter, our infant son was given his first taste of Sake. We can't say if he liked it or not but his reaction was priceless. 
After the ceremony concluded, we took some photos and later toured the Shrine grounds. We have made many good memories over the course of our four visits to the Tsubaki Grand Shrine of North America. In particular, visiting the sacred tree that sits along the Pilchuck River. It is a sight to see!
When you visit the Shrine grounds, one would be remiss to not visit the Inari Fox Shrine located on the edge of the Pilchuck river on the back end of the Shrine Grounds. It is a unique place to make offerings and be one with the Kami.
A view of the Torii Gates leading to the Inari Fox Shrine.
Yours truly with my children.
We hope you enjoyed this blog entry. If you are considering having a Hatsumiyamairi there,
please contact the Shrine through their website at Tsubaki Grand Shrine of America.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Peregrine Falcon & Zero Encounter

On our recent trip for our newborn sons's Hatsumiyamairi, we took the opportunity to visit Microsoft Co-Founder Paul Allen's unique Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum in Everett Washington. Special emphasis on the word Flying because many of the vintage warbirds are airworthy and do participate in airshows. Like many air museuems that house WWII fighter aircraft, you'll see the ususal compliments of P-51 Mustangs, F-4U Corsairs, ME-109's, but rarely Japanese warbirds. Paul Allen happens to have two such Japanese fighters that are flyable. een here in the above photo is the Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa aka the Peregrine Falcon. This fighter was the Japanese Imperial Army's answer to the famed A6M Reisen Zero fighter flown by the Japanese Imperial Navy. Major Tateo Katō famously claimed 18 aireal victories in a Hayabusa. As you can see, this one is in pristine condition. The front desk guy informed us that if the planes are leaking oil, they fly and you can see there is an oil pan collecting leaking oil underneath the plane. This is the second Hayabusa we have encountered and pleased to report she is well cared for. The other Ki-43 sits in a state of neglect in lonely dark conrer of the Pima Air Museuem collecting dust.  
Moving onto Hangar B, we came to see their famous A6M3-22 Reisen "Zero" fighter flown by the Imperial Japanese Navy. Much like our first encounter with the Saipan Zero at Chino's Planes of Fame, this famous plane noted for it's unique tiger stripe camoflauge paint scheme was in a state of overhaul with it's engine removed for maintenence. We were naturally bummed to see her in this state but as the son of an aircraft mechanic we do understand these 75 year old warplanes need maintence and extra loving care to preserve them and keep them flying. This is one of 6 known flying Zeros in the world and now we have seen 4 out of the six. Hopefully we will see her again in one peice flying in formation to the delight of military avaiation enthusiats & historians alike for years to come. 

Heisei Era Close Draws Near As Abdication Date Set

Every monarch has his reign in the sun and for Japan's 83 year old Heisei Emperor Akihito is no exception. In recent years the rigourous pace of his public duties have become harder to fullfill due to his advanced age. Thus by his own requests and an act of the Japanese Diet, the Imperial Household Agency has announced that Emperor Akihito will abdicate from the Chrysanthemum Throne April 30th, 2019. It is the first time in over 200 years that a Japanese Emperor has chosen to abdicate. Emperor Akihito will be remembered as a gentle monarch who sought to heal the wounds of WWII and in recent times be a voice of comfort to many in Japan's most recent disasters. He has reigned for over three decades since 1989 and will be succeded by his eldest son, 57 year old Crown Prince Naruhito. We at American Mishima wish Emperor Akihito & Empress Michiko a peaceful retirement in the twilight of thier years. They will be missed.