NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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2007/3/5


さばくさらかし岩 Saba-kusarakashi-iwa Mackerel Rotten Rock

Jp En

A long time ago, a fisherman from Togitsu Beach caught a great amount of mackerels and decided to go to Nagasaki to sell them. When the fisherman was about to pass under this rock, he thought: 'This rock might fall any moment, so I shall wait until it falls'. He waited for a while. And as he waited, the mackerels slowly began to rot. The name 'Mackerel Rotten Rock' comes from this story.

This rock is of hornblende andesitic volcanic propylite. Appearing at any moment to fall, the rock changes its appearance in every season. Today, incidentally, the rock is fixed in concrete, so it will never fall.
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2007/1/9


長崎 精霊流し Nagasaki Syourounagasi Nagasaki Shourounagashi

Jp En

Shourounagashi (Floating Lanterns for the Souls of the Departed) is a traditional event held in Nagasaki during the Bon Festival (annual Buddhist event commemorating ancestors, July 15th). It is held to send off the souls of the departed on spirit boats.

There are several versions as to the origin of this tradition. The most commonly held one is that it derives from the Chinese Saishunagashi (floating boat) festival. Saishunagashi was an annual ceremony held by Chinese voyagers and navigators who had come to Nagasaki. At this time, they prayed for the repose of the dead.

In Nagasaki, the family of someone recently deceased makes a large spirit boat, which is then carried to the 'passing point' accompanied by banging gongs and firecrackers. The men carrying the boat shout “Doui!Doui!” as they make their way.

These boats used to be sent off to the sea, but this  is no longer practiced today because of environmental problems.

The influence of China on this tradition is very clear. Many people plug their ears because of the earsplitting sounds of the firecrackers. It is also said that the image presented in the well-known song 'Shourounagashi' by Sadamasashi (a famous Japanese artist) differs considerably from the actual event itself.
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