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The Fox Guardian
Lens: DA 16-45 Camera: K200D Photo Location: Saitama, Japan ISO: 400 Shutter Speed: 1/90s Aperture: F4.5 
Posted By: RobG, 11-09-2010, 05:15 AM



A fox spirit guards a shrine at Takao-san (Mount Takao). If anyone can explain to me why the statues wear red bibs at New Year, I'd love to know! By the way, the word "san" for mountain is not the same as "san" for an honorific. The "san" for mountain comes straight from Chinese. So when I say Takao-san I am not calling the mountain Mr Takao.
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11-10-2010, 09:16 AM   #2
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No idea, but that's interesting! Against that background, I think some close-ups of it the fox would work well too.

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11-10-2010, 10:52 AM   #3
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Interesting...thanks for sharing!
11-10-2010, 11:09 AM   #4
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Thanks for some interesting facts. And a well taken shot. That red is superb.

11-10-2010, 02:51 PM   #5
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Thanks to everyone who responded! I might get the chance to go back again this winter. Adam - a closeup on the head of the fox loses its tail, and then it's hard to figure out what the animal is meant to be. At the same time, I wish I could have lost the out of focus leaves and the lantern, but the angles were difficult. It goes to show that sometimes I need to take a deep breath and consider the framing slightly more carefully. Happily, the smooth bokeh isolates the fox nicely I think.

Here's a couple of other examples of the red decorations. Note the snow in the lap of the first statue!

Could this be the Cousin It memorial?


PS Apparently, red is considered in Japanese tradition to be a colour that expels demons and disease.
http://www.onmarkproductions.com/html/color-red.html

Last edited by RobG; 11-10-2010 at 02:57 PM. Reason: additional info
11-10-2010, 03:34 PM   #6
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I once read that a long time ago someone put these clothing to a Buddha (I think it was a Jizo) statue because it seemed cold (it was winter). Later, that man was blessed with something at this moment I cannot remember. Look for the "Why the Red Bib, Hat, Toys?" title in Jizo Bodhisattva (Bosatsu), Ksitigarbha, Savior from Torments of Hell, Patron of Expectant Mothers. Protector of Children & Aborted Souls, Others
11-10-2010, 04:08 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by hahifuheho Quote
I once read that a long time ago someone put these clothing to a Buddha (I think it was a Jizo) statue because it seemed cold (it was winter). Later, that man was blessed with something at this moment I cannot remember. Look for the "Why the Red Bib, Hat, Toys?" title in Jizo Bodhisattva (Bosatsu), Ksitigarbha, Savior from Torments of Hell, Patron of Expectant Mothers. Protector of Children & Aborted Souls, Others
Thanks! That kind of makes sense to me as well; I thought the same thing, that in the middle of winter it was nice to keep the spirits warm. By the way, your login name now has the "AEUIO" song from Japan stuck in my head.
11-10-2010, 04:31 PM   #8
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My login name is derived from how you learn japanese syllabaries, in this case for the sounds that start with "h" as it sounds in "help" (except for "fu", which actually it sounds on the middle between "h" and "f"). Anyway, yes, you're right "san" is the japanese reading for the chinese character for "mountain": 山. Takaosan is, then: 高尾山.

11-10-2010, 06:03 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by hahifuheho Quote
My login name is derived from how you learn japanese syllabaries, in this case for the sounds that start with "h" as it sounds in "help" (except for "fu", which actually it sounds on the middle between "h" and "f").
At least it was similar to the teaching song it reminded me of, which was actually about learning vowels.

QuoteQuote:
Anyway, yes, you're right "san" is the japanese reading for the chinese character for "mountain": 山. Takaosan is, then: 高尾山.
Well, it's not just a Japanese reading because it's "san" or "shan" in Chinese as well. So that's why I said it's straight from Chinese. I'd have said that the Japanese reading was "yama".
11-11-2010, 08:06 AM   #10
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Strictly speaking, "san" (sometimes also "zan") is a Japanese reading of Chinese origin for the character 山, while "Yama" is the japanese reading (and word) for this character, which means "mountain". In Japanese, almost all Chinese characters (kanji) have many readings from Chinese and Japanese origin.

Aside from the Japanese language talk, let me share some pictures I took at Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto:







11-11-2010, 02:43 PM   #11
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I love the frilly bibs on the foxes! I've never seen that before. But the corridor of gates is especially cool. I somehow missed that shrine in Kyoto - but there's so many templaes and shrines in and around Kyoto!
11-13-2010, 10:48 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by RobG Quote
Thanks! That kind of makes sense to me as well; I thought the same thing, that in the middle of winter it was nice to keep the spirits warm. By the way, your login name now has the "AEUIO" song from Japan stuck in my head.
It was cold in Nikko indeed:

11-13-2010, 04:51 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by hahifuheho Quote
It was cold in Nikko indeed
I've only seen Nikko in June, so it's hard to imagine it in winter!


(apologies for the poor quality of this image; it's from my video camera)
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