Begging for food every day is one of the most important parts of being a Buddhist monk, as it reinforces your humility and is the only way to make it possible to have the tiny number of possessions that you should be limited to. I’ve now forgotten the book the info came from and the period it happened, but a couple of months ago I was very interested to hear that doing alms rounds was banned by the Japanese (Edo-era?) government. As Japanese Buddhist priests generally have the reputation of being as money-grubbing as medieval Catholic monks, I very much doubt they’d be rushing to do so if it became legally possible though…
November 26, 2012 at 8:31 am (Shinto)
Unlike (most?) Buddhist monks, Shinto priests walk around in mufti and get changed just before the ceremony. Given the importance of ritual purity in Shinto, I imagine that is probably to stop their clothes getting impure.
November 17, 2012 at 8:26 am (Japanese toilets and toilet habits)
It’s apparently not due to any lack of trying by Toto, but instead:
“For Americans here in the US, the biggest issues are personal experience with these products and a major reluctance to discuss bathroom issues or change ingrained habits. You wouldn’t imagine how many people giggle nervously or say “gross” when we try to educate them about the advantages of the bidet seat, yet these are the same people that are still using paper – a much inferior way to cleanse oneself.”
and click on the category below for more on this fascinating topic…
November 1, 2012 at 8:28 pm (Japanese myths/ misconceptions about Japan)
The book on matsuri I’m reading at the moment suggests that, especially given their propensity for kidnapping females, it is almost certainly a phallic thing. However, Wikipedia’s suggestion that it was a beak (possibly derived from Garuda) that morphed into a nose seems much more well argued – particularly as Wikipedia also shows that tengu are often the spirits of girls and abduct males too.