Listening In

Friday, February 04, 2011

Marzipan days

4th February 2011

On a day of rare snow, a few people made the trip up north to Ohara and Sanzen-in, the mountain village's most famous temple.

The roof of the temple's Sanmon gate was covered with marzipan.

There's a nice garden under all this. You'll just have to take my word for it.

But the sun came out now and then. The veranda seemed to enjoy it when it did.

There's a pond under all this. You'll just have to take my word for it.

Visitors sometimes purify themselves by washing their hands at this stone basin. But on the day I went, I saw no one who did.

Everyone seemed to have reached the same conclusion that when icicles are hanging off the sink, a little taint is okay.

Snow means work for some.

But not for all.

It's off season so it's been a series of slow days for the owner of this souvenir shop in the village. With all the time he had, he made this.

Snow sculpture with interactive feature!

On my way back from the temple, I noticed that the shop owner had added horns to the snowman.

'Is that an oni?' I asked, quite proud of myself for having spotted the cultural reference.

'No,' he said. 'It's a cat - those are ears.'

I bought souvenirs to make both of us feel better.

'I wanted to make a rabbit,' he said. 'You know, because it's the Year of the Rabbit. But the ears were too hard.'

Maybe but it'll be even harder next year. I wonder if any amateur sculptor will attempt a dragon.


berylma said...

Hi Janice,

Just finished reading your article in the ST sat review section. Thanks for the lovely article. Equally, I enjoyed the earlier article on autumn and the photos... love both of them.

Oh, and here's to wish you a very happy new year. May your year ahead be full of blessings and joy.

Bless you...

Nigel Tan said...

Hi Janice,

According to Vietnamese tradition, this is the year of the Cat and not the Rabbit (apparently due to a pronunciation mix up). So the snow cat is not that out of place after all.

Have a sumptuous lunar new year!

Nigel Tan