Samurai Dave: The Roving Ronin Report

Rambling Narrative of Travels, Thoughts, and Embellishments

Warm Weather Makes Japanese Wintry Dip Seem Refreshing

Warm Weather Makes Japanese Wintry Dip Seem Refreshing
Warm Winter Weather Portents Of Severe Global Warming?


Less Blue Skin Than Last Year

“From the earliest period Shinto exacted scrupulous cleanliness … It is not uncommon for the very fervent worshipper to invoke the gods as he stands naked under the ice-cold rush of a [waterfall] in midwinter.” - Lafcadio Hearn, Japan: an Attempt at Interpretation, 1904.

Recently an annual purification ritual at Tokyo’s Kanda Myojin Shrine was held. The ritual involved men and women jumping into a shallow pool of freezing cold natural water and showering themselves vigorously with bucketfuls of icy water. These purification-through-freezing-water rituals known as Misogi are often held in Winter to display the fierce dedication of the participants.


Young Girls Brave The Cold Water And The Warm Winter

Most winters, particulary the record cold one last year, this ritual would be viewed as brave, strong, and more than a little insane. However, this winter given the abnormally warm temperatures, it actually looked rather refreshing.


Preparing For Their Refreshing Wintry Dip

With the exception of a few storms here and there, Japan’s winter has been exceptionally warm this year. This is in sharp contrast to last year when record snowfalls blanketed the northwestern coast and over a hundred people died in snow-related injuries.


Heavy Snowfall Last Winter In Nagano

Even Tokyo was hit with a significant amount of snow.


Last Winter’s Snow In Ueno Park in Tokyo

The winter has also been conspiciously late. Autumn leaf viewing has long been a popular tradition in Japan but in Autumn! Autumn and Winter seemed to have set their seasonal alarm clocks rather late. People were viewing Autumn leaves in Kyoto as late as New Year’s Eve!


Beautiful Autumn Foliage – But Two Days Before Christmas!?

A number of Japanese ski slopes only received their first heavy snow within the last few weeks. Several skiing events had to be cancelled or relocated to better slopes.

The warm weather is not only in Japan. Prior to the ice storms now sweeping across much of the US, the weather in many places felt like a fine day in April rather than January. The ice storms themselves are byproduct of the unnaturally warm weather.

Perhaps Former US Vice-President Al Gore saw the Kanda Myojin Shrine event and took note of the lack of blue skin of the participants because he was in Japan recently urging Japanese business leaders to set the example for the world to follow on environmental policies.

Gore mentioned Japan’s unusually warm winter and the early blooming Cherry Blossoms in Washington D.C. were ominious signs that not all was well.


Stretching Out Their Cold Limbs After Their Dip

“Our planet now has a fever. And it’s not going away,” Gore said. “We have a moral obligation to those coming after us.”

Gore was also promoting his documentary An Inconvenient Truth on global warming.


Obviously Smarter, The Japanese Snow Monkey Prefers A Hot Bath To A Cold One In Winter

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January 19, 2007 - Posted by | Blogroll, global warming, japan, life, matsuri, misogi, news, politics, purification, Shinto, snow, snow monkey, tokyo, travel, winter

3 Comments »

  1. Will this make my Al Gore stocks on trendio rise? http://www.trendio.com/word.php?language=en&wordid=74

    Comment by Herbesse | January 20, 2007 | Reply

  2. I hope this will make my Al Gore stocks go up so I make some money on it :-) http://www.prediction-markets.info/rd.php?language=en&wordid=74

    Comment by waitmyturn22 | March 14, 2007 | Reply

  3. [...] Warm Weather Makes Japanese Wintry Dip Seem Refreshing [...]

    Pingback by A Freezing Japanese Shinto Purification Ritual » TravelBlog Archive » Roving Ronin Report | February 1, 2008 | Reply


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