It was drizzling outside and came on to rain later; first thing in the morning after a coffee and croissant at the TCAT I went for a walk in the immediate neighbourhood to visit our nearest shrine. It's up a flight of steps from the street level, guarded by those two lions we used to see at gateways in China, and is a place of pilgrimage for people who want to pray for help with childbirth and pregnancies. It was fairly deserted yesterday, but I saw a young couple come up to pray while I was looking round. They took the ceremonial cups and washed their hands in the cold water. An older lady with two younger ones (her daughters?) also came to pray at one of the praying stations. Suiten is the water deity; she also guards against floods.
Another interesting feature of this place was the wall of children's drawings. Later in the day, when I had the chance to speak to some Japanese gentlemen (this'll be described in another blogpost) I found out that what the people are throwing at the devil figure to ward off evil in the children's pictures is a handful of beans. I had assumed that they were throwing coins, because that's what I see worshipers do at the shrines. The Seven Deities of Good Fortune are supposed to act in your favour at this one.
|Cups for the purification ceremony|