Samurai Dave: The Roving Ronin Report

Rambling Narrative of Travels, Thoughts, and Embellishments

Joma Shinji – Kyudo (Japanese Archery) Exorcism Ritual for New Years

Joma Shinji is a New Year’s Japanese Archery Ritual for driving away evil for the coming year. Six archers dressed in formal samurai kimono known as kariginu shoot two arrows a piece at a large circular target. On the back of the target is painted an upside kanji character for “oni” which means “devil.” Striking the target is believe to expel evil particularly shots which pass through the oni character.

Since ancient times in Japan, arrows have been seen as having the power to banish and destroy evil. Even the twanging of bow strings is thought to ward away evil spirits. During New Year’s, decorative wooden arrows are sold at temples and shrines as good luck charms for the coming year.

Joma Shinji takes place at Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine in Kamakura on January 5th. The ritual dates back to a time when Kamakura was the military capital of Japan (1185-1333). The first hereditary shogun, Minamoto no Yoritomo, promoted a variety of military type rituals usually involving archery such as Joma Shinji. In his day, the bow was the primary weapon of the samurai, their profession being known as “The Way of the Horse and Bow.”

Yoritomo was keen that his warriors not become soft even in times of peace. He was all too mindful of what had happened with his enemies, the Taira family. The Taira were once the dominate samurai clan of Japan but they became too intoxicated with the luxuries that power can bring and many of them preferred to excel in non-warrior pursuits such as music and poetry.

War broke out between the Taira and Minamoto and eventually the Taira were utterly defeated in 1185. It has often been pointed out that the Taira’s love of luxury and leisurely pursuits were a major factor in their downfall. Yoritomo did not want the same happening to his samurai so he decided to place his shogunate capital in Kamakura far away from the debilitating influence of the aristocratic culture of Kyoto and he encouraged the continual practice of the bow in annual rituals and contests.

Today the Ogasawara Ryu, a school of Japanese Archery, conducts the Joma Shinji Ritual. The Ogasawara school and clan was established in the Kamakura Era by Ogasawara Nagakiyo who became an archery instructor to Yoritomo. The Ogasawara Ryu does a number of archery events throughout the year including Yabusame, mounted archery.

For more photos check here: Joma Shinji Photos

January 22, 2012 Posted by | 2012, Archery, culture, history, japan, japanese archery, japanese culture, japanese history, Japanese martial arts, kyudo, New Years, Shinto, travel, youtube, zen | , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Sumo: Asashoryu vs Hakuho – Yokozuna (Sumo Champion) Match at an outdoor sumo event

This is a little blast from the past – I was going thru some of my old archive footage and came across footage of an outdoor sumo exhibit from 2009 at Yasukuni Shrine that they do every April. I’ve gone to it a few times but only once got to see the two Yokozuna at that time face off against each other.

Usually you can only see Yokozuna fight each other on the last day of the tournament, a day which it is quite difficult to get tickets for so this was quite a treat. Yokozuna is a difficult position to reach and only a few ever reach it. There has been up to four Yokozuna at one time and there has been times when there has been none.

Asashoryu was Yokozuna from 2003-2010 and Hakuho has been one since 2007 so for only a short period of time could you see two Yokozuna compete since 2003.

For more sumo, check out this link to photos of Day 13 of the January 2012 tournament:

Sumo Photos

January 22, 2012 Posted by | 2009, asashoryu, japan, japanese culture, Sport, sumo, tokyo, yasukuni shrine, yokozuna, youtube | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy New Years 2011 From Tokyo!

Happy New Years from Tokyo! Here are a few scenes of me celebrating the new year in a couple of places from one of my old watering holes when I used to live in Otsuka the Black Sheep in Ikebukuro where I did the countdown. Then I moved on to Shinjuku to Decadance Bar which is like a mini-Tokyo Decadance event every weekend.

At the end of the night I ended up in Roppongi fairly hammered before stumbling back home and missing my connection stop. All in all, a good time! Happy New Years!

From some other New Years Activities in the past:

New Years Eve at Zojo-ji Temple in Hamamatsucho

New Years Day Activities at Yasukuni Shrine

January 2, 2011 Posted by | 2010, 2011, culture, drinking, japan, japanese culture, New Year's Eve, New Years, party, tokyo, tokyo decadance, travel, video, vlog, yasakuni shrine, youtube, zojo-ji | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

2010 Japan World Cup Memories

Here is my compilation of videos watching Japan in the 2010 World Cup in various places in Tokyo. Japanese fans are fun to watch and party with and of course lots of cute genki girls makes for lots of fun!

JAPAN VS CAMEROON

Despite low expectations, Japan beat Cameroon June 14th 1-0. Many expected Japan to lose because they were lower in rank than Cameroon and hadn’t done so hot in the pre-Cup games.

I watched the game at a bar in Tokyo and later walked about and over to a Hub Pub and talked to Japanese and foreigners alike about the game. I forgot my video camera at home so I was forced to rely on the crappy video function of my small digital photo camera so the audio and video are bit rougher than usual.

JAPAN VS NETHERLANDS

Japan put up a valiant effort against Netherlands on June 19th but eventually lost 0-1. Many people thought Japan would lose anyway because Netherlands is such a strong team but they didn’t score their only goal until the second half. Japan came close to a draw but unfortunately not close enough. Now the big game is against Denmark June 24th which will be at 3:30am the next morning here in Japan.

I went to the artistic haunts of the Design Festa Cafe in Harajuku to watch the game and while there I polled some of the spectators on Japan’s chances. I tried to motivate flagging spirits by singing the “Oh, Nippon” song but some of them didn’t know it.

I also ran into fellow youtuber, Tolokyo, there and got his candid opinion on the game.

JAPAN VS DENMARK

Japanese celebrate going to 2nd Round with World Cup Win against Denmark

Japan vs Denmark for the chance to proceed to the 2nd Round of the World Cup. Both had beat Cameroon and both had lost to Netherlands so it was anyone’s game and a lot was riding on it.

I went to Shibuya on the last train and found fans celebrating more than two hours before the game to get themselves pysched up for the coming match.

I caught the first part of the game not too mention Japan’s first goal on a frizzy muted TV in the notorious meat-market club Gaspanic before moving on to a little under-the-tracks bar that was jam-packed spilling out up to the road. I could hardly see the game but the atmosphere was definitely lively especially when Japan scored its second goal before half-time. After half I went to the Irish bar chain Dubliner’s where I could actually see the game for a change. There Denmark scored goal but a few minutes later Japan scored it’s third and final goal winning the game and going to the 2nd Round. At this point win or lose the next game, it doesn’t really matter. It’s just enough to get through especially when many people’s expectations were so low.

Shibuya Crossing was a madhouse. The police had blocked off the main diagonal crossing for fear the street would be choked with partiers and traffic would never get through. I ended my night or rather early morning with a beer in a small bar before getting some shut-eye.

JAPAN VS PARAGUAY

Ah, Japan lost to Paraguay in the Second Round to that bullshite known as PK (Penalty Kicks) but still they played a good game and can hold their heads high this World Cup.

I went to Shibuya again to watch the game and the festivities. Unfortunately there practically more cops than fans this time around (no one was tazzed though so I have to commend the Japanese police there). Also there was no public viewings despite there being huge TV screens at Shibuya crossing.

After the game despite the loss, Japan team fans still celebrated to the wee hours.

December 31, 2010 Posted by | 2010, Blogroll, event, FIFA, Harajuku, japan, Japanese girls, party, sexy, soccer, Sport, tokyo, Tokyo Design Festa, travel, vlog, World Cup, youtube | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Asashoryu Retires from Sumo Video Discussion

Long video discussing the retirement of Asashoryu, the yokozuna (sumo champion) of Sumo in Japan.

Asashoryu announced his retirement recently.

February 9, 2010 Posted by | asashoryu, Givemeabreakman, japan, news, Sport, Sports News, sumo, video, vlog, yokozuna, youtube | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Osu Kannon Temple and Shopping Market in Nagoya, Japan

I was visiting Nagoya and decided to drop in on Victor aka Gimmeabreakman aka Givemeaflakeman. He gave me a quick tour of Osu Kannon temple and its nearby shopping market during his break between classes.

Osu Kannon is quiet contemplative spot right in the middle of hectic downtown Nagoya.

February 9, 2010 Posted by | buddhism, Givemeabreakman, japan, japanese culture, Nagoya, Osu Kannon, shopping, travel, video, vlog, youtube | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

R.I.P. Japanese Horror Fan – Rodger Swan (1986-2010)

Some of you who don’t frequent Youtube may not be aware that a long time Japan Vlogger on Youtube, Rodger Swan, recently passed away suddenly. He put out a lot of videos of his experiences in Japan, first as Tokyo Swan then later as Iwate Swan when he accepted a job offer from JET to teach in Iwate Prefecture.

http://www.youtube.com/user/rodgerswan

His most popular series was his Japanese Horror movie reviews where he looked at the good, the bad, and the gory of Japanese horror cinema. If you like Japanese horror you should check out his work. This is the first video of his playlist where he reviewed the Ring series. He has a whopping 50 reviews!

January 29, 2010 Posted by | death, Horror, iwate, Iwate Swan, japan, Japan Vlogger, japanese culture, Japanese Ghosts, Japanese Horror, Ringu, Rodger Swan, The Ring, tokyo, Tokyo Swan, tragedy, video, youtube | , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Rolly Teranishi sings Rocky Horror songs in Japanese

For your surreal entertainment – two songs from the cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show sung in Japanese with a bit of English by ROLLY Teranishi.

Rolly Teranishi was a member of the Japanese rock band Scanch before going solo.

Here ROLLY performs “Science Fiction/Double Feature” and “I’m Going Home.” He’s a big fan of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and has played Dr. Frank-N-Furter in Japanese stage versions.

This was at the 2009 Tokyo Decadance Halloween party.

October 30, 2009 Posted by | Blogroll, clubbing, japan, Japanese subculture, music, rock, Rolly Teranishi, Science Fiction/Double Feature, singing, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, tokyo, tokyo decadance, video, weird, WTF, youtube | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tokyo Decadance Halloween 2009

Tokyo Decadance Halloween 2009

user posted image
Decadant particpants at Tokyo Decadance Halloween

Another fun-filled Tokyo Decadance event with sexy sirens, wickedly wild witches, ghoulish goblins, devious devils, rollicking robots, newhalf ninja, vicious violinists, plundering pirates, alliterating *ssholes, and god knows what else for Halloween.

Also in attendance was Rolly Teranishi who performed at last year’s Halloween event. Here he sang two songs from the cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show in Japanese with a bit of English.

Rolly Teranishi was a member of the Japanese rock band Scanch before going solo. He’s a big fan of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and has played Dr. Frank-N-Furter in Japanese stage versions.

user posted image
Hoichi the Earless(?) and Pretty Devil enjoy Tokyo Decadance

One of my favorite costumes at the event was the girl dressed up as Hoichi the Earless even though she still had her ears. This is from an old ghost story where a blind biwa player unknowingly played for the ghosts of a defeated samurai clan. In order to save him from eventual destruction, Buddhist priests covered his body in sacred texts but they forget to cover his ears. When a ghost came to fetch Hoichi, the sacred writing prevented him from seeing the biwa player save for his two ears which he ripped from Hoichi’s head.

user posted image
wickedly sweet witch

user posted image
Transformer chick – wearing less than meets the eye

user posted image
rollicking robot

user posted image
Christon Cafe – a church-themed restaurant and club

user posted image

user posted image
Adrien le Danois – Founder of Tokyo Decadance

user posted image
Cap’n Blackjack Dave on the prowl for booty

user posted image
pirate with fetish poster

user posted image
Is Tokyo Decadance a Biohazard?

user posted image

user posted image
Cutie devil makes going to hell seem fun

user posted image
Goth Geisha girl with coffin handbag

user posted image
Spooky DJ

user posted image

user posted image
pink petite maid

user posted image
french maid

user posted image

user posted image
sleepy devil

user posted image
A cake with endowments for Tokyo Decadance’s 4th Anniversary

user posted image

user posted image
Cap’n Blackjack Dave bemused and bewigged

user posted image
Cute Cop ready to lay down the law

user posted image
The stuff of nightmares…

user posted image
Ditto

user posted image
Naughty Nurse, Sultry Wednesday, Zombie Bride, and Goth Geisha Vampire

October 30, 2009 Posted by | clubbing, cosplay, costumes, crossdressing, dance, Goth Girls, goth lolita, halloween, japan, Japanese subculture, party, Rolly Teranishi, sexy, subculture, tokyo, tokyo decadance, travel, video, weird, WTF, youtube | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Boating Through a Japanese River Gorge – GeibiKei Video

Geibikei is a scenic river gorge in the northern prefecture of Iwate where people can take flat-bottom boats piloted by singing boatmen. The boatmen guide the boats along with poles much with the gondaliers of Venice.

I was back up in Iwate again for festivals (in case you can’t tell I have a thing for festivals). One of them was rescheduled later on the weekend so I had to extend my trip.

With my extra time, I decided to go to Geibikei, a place I visited on a whim 3 years ago with my folks when we were touring the Tohoku area.

It costs about 1500Yen for a 90-minute trip there and back. At the half-way point, you can walk around a bit. On the way back, the boatmen sings traditional songs.

October 23, 2009 Posted by | boating, boats, geibikei, iwate, japan, nature, tohoku, travel, video, vlog, youtube | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment