Monday, February 23, 2009
Kabo-san flea market in the Toji Temple, I experienced a moving example of this deep tradition. Hundreds of people young and old gather to buy or sell everything from postcards to pottery to potatoes. Women peruse through racks of kimonos while men bargain down the price of a second-hand watch. After doing a little research, I came to realize that this market has been around for 700 years. Merchants come to share the products of their trade whether it be making beaded jewelry or rice and beans like the man in the third picture. I can imagine the transformation that this market has gone through throughout the years. The grounds of the shrine and statues of Buddha as seen in the first two images remind you of the roots of the people and the culture. Shrines and temples scattered throughout residential areas are frequented by Japanese people who openly show their devotion and prayers to the ancient Shinto and Buddhist deities. The Japanese may be on the cutting edge of pop culture and technology but they have certainly not lost the connection to the ancient traditions that have shaped their lives for centuries. Selling signature stamps in a world signed off by keyboards and subject lines, the man in the last picture illustrates the beauty of sharing a simple trade: a lesson of culture we should all take note of.
For more information on the Koba-san market visit this link: http://www.dailypress.com/travel/destinations/local/dp-trav_kyotooct31,0,6719642.story