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ABOUT THESE PHOTOS
These photographs were taken with an Olympus E-1 camera or an Olympus E-330 camera and assorted Zuiko lenses, or a Ricoh GRD camera.
This priest is collecting alms for his temple. He is standing outside one of Fukuoka's slick new department store facards in the Tenjin district of Fukuoka. I just think the old and new make a nice juxtaposition, and as it has been raining here without letup for two weeks now, I am going through the archives.
Visitors to Tokyo often remark how clean the streets are, especially given the amount of people that are constantly using them.
The secret is these cleaners, who endlessly patrol the footpaths, sweeping up cigarette butts, papers, etc., that would otherwise accumulate very quickly. And you hardly notice them, except first thing in the morning, when the streets are quieter, and they are out in full force getting Tokyo ready for another day.
These headstones are no longer required in this cemetary in a buddhist temple in Saga, because the families of the deceased no longer visit, probably because they too, have passed on.
So the headstones are stacked to the side of the cemetary, to make way for the newer gravemarkers of paying customers, whose families make regular visits, and regular contributions to the temple. People are not actually buried in Japan, but are cremated, and at most one or two bones may be situated at the grave site.
Buddhism in Japan is a religion, but it is also very much a business, too.
This cute little mascot, in the likeness of a priest, stands outside the Saga funeral and graveyard supplies shop in the main street of Saga city. I wonder how westerners would relate to such an obviously cute-kitsch mascot in such a place in Melbourne, or London, or downtown Detroit?
These shops are where you go to buy household shrines, urns for ashes, candlesticks and candles, and all the paraphenalia you might need to honor the dead.