Yagyunosho /Part I/ |Ritual| – video

A cloudy-cold day, it pours rain as we exit the Shinkansen train in Mishima. The train ride to Shuzenji station is easy, the train takes you almost door to door. The forecast was rain and the rain’s tear drops gave us the feeling it would be a perfect day. Those kind of days when you feel trapped by a single drop and just the opposite is true.

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In a taxi, we are traveling 25 minutes on the new road that leads us to a small village where we will spend the night. As I sit in the taxi, I think of about Japan, and the faith of Japanese and their future. It hits me every time I travel to the Japanese countryside and see the significance of nature and it’s connection in everyday life.

The water basin in a traditional garden (seen at Yagyu-No-Sho) is named shihōbutsugata chōzubachi and is used for purifying hands, mouth and forehead. A ritual, to cleanse yourself, a symbolic gesture of leaving the secular world behind.

The secondary purpose is aesthetic, and the reflection of the sky in water unifies the two elements, and adds a dynamic quality to the surrounding area of the garden. But their purpose was to provide access to water for purifying the hands, forehead, and mouth prior to partaking in the ritual of drinking tea.

It has been in their traditions for centuries but suddenly the younger generation see these symbols as mere relics. There seems to be an obvious decline in tradition and it becomes more and more evident in Japanese society – sadly.

But here are still some Japanese that are willing to sacrifice their city life, and replace it with daily life in the countryside. The water runs as time passes – no matter what happens is the notion of impermanence.