(Well actually 6 years. This kind of economy boosting activity should be encouraged to happen as often as possible so 7 years is on the old counting system where year zero is counted as year 1.)
The event, called gokaicho, involves the unveiling of the sculpture of the Amida Buddha, the Bodhisattva of Mercy and the Bodhisattva of Wisdom.
(Oh, and it also involves the selling of gargantuan amounts of souvenirs- if you can print a picture of the temple on it you can sell it. And if you can't print a picture on it (loose dried shellfish for example) dress up in the traditional costume of some place in Japan (I saw some rather suspiciously Aomori style outfits last week), hawk your wares in a Nagano accent and watch the loot come rolling in. And no. shellfish are not really what you think of when you think of landlocked Nagano but JTB tourers will pay a king's ransom for them so go for it, yeah. Ditto any and every eating and lodging establishment within an hour of the temple- stick a poster in your window and go for it. The local buslines even put on an extra busstop for the festival!)
Occurring once every seven years, gokaicho will begin on April 5 and end on May 31.
(Well actually the earlybirds have been turning up since about mid-March to see the 'there's going to be a festival here soon' preparations. But yep, last days, better jump on a tour bus and join the JTB invasion soon or you'll have to wait another 7, ok 6, years.)
The sculpture, the oldest Buddhist image in Japan, originated in India and arrived in Japan in 552 CE.
(I had to google CE. It's Common era. Some kind of non-Christian way of saying A.D. And Nagano has the oldest image of Buddha in Japan? Must remember to add that to the list of superlatives we can lay claim too, you know- most delicious apples, best wine, highest waterfall etc etc)
The Zenkoji temple is one of Japan’s most sacred sites and boasts a history of more than 1400 years.
(Hmmm, except for the roof which isn't even 14 months old...)
So yeah, it's Gokaicho. The women in my senior English classes are all in a tizz about it.
"Ohhh I have to go this year. I'm 77 and you know.... it's only every 7 years...."
(Gotta love these conversation stoppers dropped in the middle of class.)
"We went last Tuesday, got up at 3:30, left at 4:00am, got there just after 5:00 and only had to wait 30 minutes to get to the front of the line!"
"I went there and lined up three times. Once for me, once for my daughter (in the US) and once for my granddaughter."
- 公平に評すれば、彼はお人好しだ。To do him justice, he is a good-natured man.
- 母は、のんきでほがらかでお人好しです。My mother is carefree, cheerful and good-natured.
- 私は君の言うことをしんじるほどお人好しではない。I'm not so simple as to believe you.
- かれはお人よしのかもから大金を巻き上げました 。He made heaps of money by ripping off naive suckers.
- ある戸別訪問のセールスマンがお人好しの老婦人を馬鹿にして大金を持ち逃げした。A certain door to door salesman made a fool of a trusting old lady and went off with a lot of her money.
So my neighbours weren't out and when we went for a walk I could take photos of the garden without risking my 'I'm a farmer not a tourist' rep.
Oh well, the kids had a brilliant time and that's the main thing, right?
I am really upset though as the neighbour we have had issues with (a long time ago and I thought we were over it- they sent us some kind of legal letter 'requesting' we remove a terribly dangerous tree on our side of the fence- at our cost of course. Oh well we did it and I thought all was well again) today I found they have removed big bambooshoots from inside our land. I'm upset because they were about a metre and a half high and we had been watching them and enjoying them since they first pushed through the earth. I know there're way bigger problems in the world than this and I'm sounding like a BBC comedy warring with my geriatric neighbours over garden stuff but I'm right that that's out of line right? Yes bamboo can be viral but this is not that sasa bamboo but really beautiful thick bamboo and we only get a half dozen new shoots a year anyway. And what about having the decency to say something????