Sibylle Ito (go ahead, follow her on Twitter - she is one of the nicest people on the innerwebz!), of the fabulous "Where Mt. Fuji meets Matterhorn" blog interviewed me recently about the thing in Japan that I love the most - matsuri (Japanese festivals).
The interview is here, please check it out. And if you're curious to find out what I look like, my photo is there, too. OK, enough of this self-promotion, now, back to important things.
Sibylle does a wonderful job conducting and publishing interviews with different individuals each week, and I am honored that she thought that matsuri and being a matsuri geek were worth talking about.
Of course, I couldn't have answered the questions without Dr Trouble's help, for which I am very grateful. My husband knows more about matsuri than anyone else I've ever met (including some hoity-toity Japan culture experts from overseas, PhDs and all).
He got me started on matsuri by accident. Previously, a festival was a festival was a festival was just another festival. So there's a bunch of cute guys prancing around with mikoshi, big deal. Another matsuri, yawn...
And then, during a visit to Rinnoji in Nikko (yes, a Buddhist temple) something clicked. I was standing in the Sanbutsudo Hall, when the cogs in my brain suddenly turned and the light came on. I was so proud of myself to finally figure out who these Buddhist deities were in Shinto.
That started the process (now - our tradition) to check at each and every shrine we visit, which deity is enshrined there. From there, the jump to matsuri was an easy one.
With Dr Trouble being a Shinto freak (but with a Buddhist streak), learning about matsuri is easy. The man is a walking encyclopedia of Shinto knowledge and a card carrying member of the International Shinto Foundation.
So there you have it - anyone can be turned into a matsuri otaku, even someone as unlikely as myself.
Now, if you excuse me, I have to research the festival we are going to attend this weekend.
And Sibylle, thank you so much for this opportunity!!!