Snow and Red Shrine 2006-02-09
On another side street I looked left down a hedge row and saw this small shrine. We live on the edge of Tokyo, so it's an older community. Many of our neighbors are former farmers (now wealthy ex-landowners). They tend to have a bit of extra land still, and they are (apparently) religious judging by the number of large and small Shinto shrines. It makes sense that farmers would be adherents of an animistic religion, being at the whim of nature and needing something to do about it.
Our immediate neighbor is one of the wealthiest landowners in the area. He still has some farms here and there, so I'm using that in the present tense. We used to have an empty lot just outside our bedroom window, but he built his retirement house there. (He and his wife moved from their old house, three doors down, so they could (still) live next door to their daughter.)
I won't talk about the sunlight that no longer hits the side of our house (you can't expect a vacant lot to stay empty in Tokyo!). But, interestly, he added a small fox shrine at the corner of his property not too far from our kitchen window. My wife wasn't thrilled. She thinks that fox shrines are somewhat dark and spooky (they -- he has a big one on the other side as well -- are set up to guard his property, I think, so they're not intended to spread cheer). At any rate, there is a man who comes every so often and fixes it up (puts fresh flowers, does a short ritual, etc.). We think it's a priest or other worker from the nearby Shinto Shrine. My wife thinks our neighbor must be a big donor, or perhaps he paid for this service when he had the property blessed prior to construction.
This is my second photo posted today. My snowy day photos are so dismal, in general, that I feel like pushing them out in a hurry. Besides, it seems we may be going into the city again soon.