Jan 15, 2009

Sawai Yakushi Hall Fair

January 1, I visited the Sawai Yakushi Hall in Ome City, which is located close to Japan Railway Sawai Station, to see the Sawai Yakushi Hall fair.

I started eastward from Sawai Station on the narrow road that extended along the rail track. The road then passed through under the rail track and I went to the south side of the track. This place is on the south slope of a mountain and is placed in sunlight in the daytime. So, I could walk comfortably around there. There were nandina trees with red leaves and red berries in the yard of someone's house.

Soon, I got to the entrance of a narrow slope which is flanked by many flags. On each of the flags are red kanji characters which read "Oblation, Yakushi-ruriko-nyorai." I climbed up the slope to the top, where there was the rail track. I walked across the railroad crossing, which has neither crossing bars nor alarm. Immediately beyond the track, there was a flight of stairs, I walked up the stairs and then I was in front of the Yakushi Hall building.

On the small premises, people were selling Bodhidharma idols in one place, keeping the fire so that people could warm themselves in another place. Some were selling dumplings and yakitori.

After offering players to Yakushi-sama, I was given a chance to draw a raffle for free on the premises. I drew a blank, but the generous-hearted old man at the lottery site gave me a sixth prize, which was a small bamboo rake embellished with a real coin and imitated old-time coins (a bamboo rake is usually used to collect trash, but this type of bamboo rake is believed to collect a lot of good fortune).

Also, I was given a cup of amazake (sweet drink made from sake lees), and I felt I was quite blessed.

I think such a fair is an event for people in the neighboring communities and, therefore, I, as a foreigner in that vicinity, felt diffident at first about benefiting too much from the event, for example, being given amazake and drawing a raffle for free. However, people there were quite easygoing and the old man who gave me the small bamboo rake was so nice to say, "Thank you for coming all the way to here. Come again next year, too!" I was very happy to hear these friendly and kind words, and it was a day that I could enjoy big hearts and hospitality of country folk.

Today's Sake
Kasen Junmaiginjo Tamagawa-josui Haru-no-yoi (Tamura Shuzoujou)
In this sake, fragrance and flavor is harmonized quite elegantly. Drinking this sake makes me happy, and I think this is a good sake.
Seimaibuai: 55%
Alcohol: 15 - 16%
Sake meter value: (+)1
Acidity: 1.5

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