The Machida Shrine Sale…whispered in a hush, shrines sales are supposed to be these huge scavenge fests, but no one seems to have any straight information on them. Like the Holy Grail, it’s something everyone’s heard of and nobody’s seen. The Japanese girls I know say they never go—just a bunch of old junk. Even some of the savviest Americans around here say they’ve gone in search of the Machida Shrine Sale with no success. Chris and I got our lazy selves out of bed in time for the early church service and trained out to Machida afterwards. We wandered around bickering for about two hours, investigated two temples, got lunch (left) and asked three people for directions before a nice lady sent us in the correct direction. The first girl we asked said, “You’re IN Machida.” “No,” we clarified. “The Machida SHRINE SALE.” She looked at us blankly. We felt stupid, smiled, shrugged and bowed. She smiled, shrugged and bowed too. Ultimately it was Chris who saved the day. I’d given up and was perusing an “Asian Lifestyle” store full of Bali furniture and incense and hippy stuff. Excellent. Chris persevered and insisted we ask a few more people for directions. Turns out we’d wandered within a block of it, but some construction detoured us. In case anyone…ah-hem ah-HEM…is wondering if a shrine sales SELL shrines, NO. They’re bazaars held once a month or so AT a shrine. And it was everything I’d hoped it would be! Old crap, jewelry, pots, dishes, bowls, piles of kimonos and obis, idols, vases, scrolls, stools, those long carved boards that go over windows, masks, little charms in the form of bells, snakes, naked goddesses, bunnies, elephants, etc. Take this inset photo for instance: a replica (?) rib cage, wooden mask, alligator purse, wooden chest, samurai helmet and who knows what else.
I really like the second scroll in from the right. At first I just thought the mountains were pretty and there’s a tiny village nestled about halfway up to the heavens, but during dinner tonight I noticed two tiny people journeying into the scroll in the bottom left corner—a short one and a tall one. Now it’s my favorite, because that’s completely where Chris and I are right now: down at the beginning looking up at our three years here in Japan, up at the course of our marriage and up toward our future family. Sometimes that’s the best part of the journey, the hopeful anticipation of where it will lead. But the village isn’t all the way at the top. Even when that goal is accomplished, there’s plenty of room left to look up and ahead, but it provides a majestic vantage point to view the scenery successfully travailed.