Monday, January 14, 2013

Snow at a Tokyo Temple and Tokyo Tower



It snowed January 14 which is a national holiday for those coming of age. I often go to shrines and temples to take pics of kimono-clad girls but there was hardly any to be seen today due to the heavy amount of snow by Tokyo standards.

I went to Zojo-ji Temple in Hamamatsucho just evening was falling. I arrived as they were ringing the evening bell and doing their evening service. It was quite an enchanting and eerie experience to be almost alone in such a populous city with Buddhist monks chanting in the background as the snow fell from the empty skies.



























Thursday, January 10, 2013

Alex Jones' Gun Control Conspiracy - Who is really benefitting?



In the infamous and hilarious Alex Jones' debacle on Piers Morgan's show recently, Alex Jones starting throwing out false flag accusations amongst his rantings. A false flag is where a government or organization fakes an incident to make it look like someone else did it in order to justify a certain action in response. This is what a number of ardent gun advocates having been saying - that the tragedy of Sandy Hook was not simply the work of a madman but a government false flag operation in order to start the process of disarming Americans.

The problem with that idea is that a number of these advocates having been saying this same thing about other mass shootings as well such as Aurora and Virginia Tech. Some have been saying this as far back as Columbine. They have said after each of these shootings that these incidences are government false flags which are to be used as a pretext to snatch up all our guns before tossing us into FEMA Death Camps.

If that's the case, obviously the false flags haven't been working too well since it's been 14 year since Columbine and almost 6 years since Virginia Tech and no one has taken our guns away or has really been successful in even trying. Is it because the hardcore gun advocates beat back the sinister New World Order every time the issue of gun control is brought up? This NWO can't be much up to snuff if their evil purposes can be so easily stymied by some boorish loudmouths.

If you are going to come up with a conspiracy theory though, because you think such mass shootings are not the random acts of crazies but rather diabolical schemes you have to think to yourself - Who is really benefitting here? The government? The evil shadowy overlords who want to disarm us? They either must be very patient or very incompetent since most mass shootings from Columbine onwards have netted no real significant results in gun control except a lot of talk and very little to no action. These evil overlords don't seem to have benefitted much if at all from these mass shootings. What small amounts of regulation they have gotten is minimal for all their efforts.

However, let's look at who has directly benefitted and tremendously at that. After every mass shooting, while gun control gets tossed around and nothing much happens, gun sales go thru the roof. Coincidence? Was Sandy Hook a reverse false flag so gun manufacturers could get a Christmas bonus? If you want to imagine the "big bad gubermint" being so callous that they would kill people for their shadowy NWO purposes, why not imagine the possible instigators in this false flag scenario to have been the very people who have been directly profiting off every single mass shooting incident? You have to admit that after 14 years with little to no real gun regulation, the shadowy NWO has been kind of sucking at their nefarious disarm the populace scheme while gun manufacturers have been rolling in it all this time.

And all the gun control debate which follows every mass shooting just further fuels guns sales as gun owners will (in sheepish fashion) rush out and buy whatever gun is in danger of being banned. After the Arizona shooting in 2011, gun sales skyrocketed especially of Glocks. After Sandy Hook, it's AR-15s and similar types which are in danger of regulation or banning.

And where do fervent gun advocates like Alex Jones and Ted Nugent fit in with this conspiracy theory? Simple. First they appeal to the patriotic side of gun owners by quoting the 2nd Amendment and spouting out-of-date quotes of the Founding Fathers which are often out-of-context. Then they feed the fear that many of their supporters have of a rogue government, NWO, black helicopters, FEMA death camps, etc... and tell them after every mass shooting that the government is going to use the incident to take all of our guns away. "We must fight tyranny!" they will shout and this spurs gun owners and those fearful of shadowy evil governments to rush out and buy more guns.

According to this report:
http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/DC-Decoder/2012/0725/Why-gun-sales-spike-after-mass-shootings-It-s-not-what-you-might-think

"But a bigger factor [for the increase in gun sales after mass shootings], say gun dealers, is fear of something else:  politicians – specifically, their ability to enact restrictions on gun ownership and acquisition of ammunition."

Also interesting:
"Gun dealers, in fact, owe a lot to Mr. Obama. Before his election in 2008, gun sales spiked in anticipation that he would promote a gun-control agenda – even though he did not campaign on the issue and theSupreme Court had just handed down its landmark Heller ruling, which asserted an individual right to keep and bear arms."

The fear of Obama being this great anti-gun president that addled-brain Ted Nugent claims he is has been a boon to gun dealers and manufacturers. If McCain or Romney had won their election campaigns, gun sales wouldn't have shot up as much. Maybe gun dealers/manufacturers unbeknownst to Obama rigged the election to ensure the massive amounts of profits they would receive with him in office. It's brilliant because Obama hasn't had to do anything to make gun sales go up because gun dealer stooges like Ted Nugent are doing it for him.

If any gun regulation comes about from all this it will probably be relatively weak but this won't stop the gun dealer stooges from stoking the fires and getting gun owners to stock up on guns before the such regulation goes into effect and afterwards stocking up on other guns not under regulation or which have been banned.

In short, the NWO conspiracy of the government being behind mass shootings is a scam - a very profitable scam.



Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Giant Japanese Snake Festival - Taisita Monjya in Sekikawa, Niigata


To honor this year's Chinese Zodiac animal the Snake, I offer this look at an interesting unique festival from the small town of Sekikawa in Niigata prefecture where they parade an enormous snake made of bamboo and straw. The snake is 82.8 meters long or about 271.6 feet and weighs about 2 tons requiring 500 people to carry it and is in the Guinness Book of World Record as longest snake made of bamboo and straw (wasn't aware there was such a category).

The festival is a type of Obon celebration - a time when the Japanese remember the spirits of the dead. It also is reminder of a terrible flood which hit Sekikawa in 1967 costing a number of people their lives. The date was August 28th which is why the snake is the exact length of 82.8 to reflect that.

As to why a giant snake, one has to dig further back into the misty past of Sekikawa. Legends say the area was troubled by a giant snake which had been a cursed woodcutter's wife. 

Some centuries ago, a local woodcutter was attacked by a giant snake while he was out gathering woods. Giant snakes have been a common theme in myth and legend and perhaps represent a memory of large snakes which once lived in Japan long ago. The woodcutter killed the snake and deciding on not letting a chance meal go to waste brought it home to eat.

The woodcutter told his wife not to eat any of the snake meat till he returned from gathering more wood. The wife disobeyed him and ate a little of the snake meat. It was so delicious she couldn't stop eating of it and she ate the entire snake. Then she developed a powerful thirst. No amount of water could quench it. She drained all the water supply at her home and then the village's supply too. She went to river to slake her unnatural thirst but to no avail. It was there that the wife transformed into a giant snake herself. She left her family and the village forever - or so it seemed.

Some time later after her family had passed away a biwa player was passing through the area. He stopped to rest and while he did so he decided to practice his skills. The snake wife heard his music and was charmed by it. She approached the biwa player and praised his skill. The biwa player being blind as many biwa players were in those days thought he was being addressed by one of the local women. There was a strange musty smell in the air but he thought nothing of it.

The snake wife asked him where he was going and he told her to the village which is now Sekikawa. She warned him not to do so. She revealed to him what she was and that she planned to destroy the village. She only told him this because she was enchanted by his music and wished to spare him. The snake wife then told him not to warn the villagers or he would pay with his life.

The biwa player left very afraid. However, instead of running off he decided to go to Sekikawa and warn them. He told the chief of the village his tale. Some say the biwa player vanished because he was a helpful spirit but others say he died from the snake wife's magic for having told her secret.

The villagers eventually were able to kill the snake wife and they enshrined the biwa players personal effects in the local temple.

Centuries later in modern times it was thought  after the flood that perhaps the old snake wife's spirit was restless so the festival was held to appease her possibly angry spirit.

The festival began in 1980s and every year they parade two large snakes around the town. A smaller one is carried/dragged by children while the principle snake of 82.8 meters is carried by 500 people.

I was fortunate to bump into a local prominent citizen of the town who told me the story in his own words. He says he remembered the biwa player's items being on display when he was boy though they aren't now. I later had dinner with him and wife and several friends of his from Niigata City. Apparently for people of the town there are those who believe the story to be true - to a degree. It is interesting though the number of giant snake stories that abound in the ancient myths and the old legends of times closer to now.

Who knows? But as to the moral of the story with the woman who was changed into a giant snake for eating the snake her husband told her not to, I guess it would be -"Women, don't eat a man's snake without his permission" or something to that effect.



Giant Japanese Snake of Bamboo

Sekikawa's snake is 82.8 meters long and weighs 2 tons

Fireworks the night before

The night before they do a bon-odori - a dance for Obon which is to honor the deceased







Metal Plaques on the main bridge of Sekikawa tell the old legend of the Giant Snake

The woodcutter's wife sees herself transformed into a Giant Snake after eating the meat of a giant snake her husband had killed and forbade her to eat

She leaves behind her family forever

A Biwa player passes through the area sometime later

The Biwa Player was blind as many were in those days and thinks his playing attracts a local woman

The woman reveals she is a giant snake and plans to destroy the village of Sekikawa

The Biwa Player tells the village and either vanishes or dies for telling the giant snake's secret

The Villagers gather up great iron nails - iron being deadly to such creatures

They drive the nails into the ground in several areas to trap the snake

Eventually the Giant Snake is killed and its death throes supposedly change the contours of the area

The Villagers celebrate their victory over the Giant Snake


Old book illustration depicting the woodcutter encountering a giant snake



The brave biwa player's personal effects were enshrined at the local temple to honor his sacrifice



There are a number of old stories which talk about giant snakes being in Japan




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Tokyo, Japan
Vagabond traveler currently hold up in Tokyo. I've done a far bit of traveling and had a few interesting adventures along the way. This blog is a chronicle of adventures past and present and those yet to come. I’ve been to about 30 countries though some no bigger than a kitchen table. I’ve run with the bulls of Pamplona, hiked the Inca Trail, got mugged in Mexico City, floated down the Nile in an old boat, climbed the Great Pyramid of Egypt, got ripped at Oktoberfest, and rode the notorious Tokyo Yamanote Halloween Party Train.