New Year in Nara by
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Todeiji Temple

From my files: A Japanese ritual: emotion, laughter, love and union.



Watching the preparation of Omochitsuki (rice cake), yearning to take hold of the kine to pound in the usu.

Swimming in the rhythms of the exchange between the person who folds and the person who pounds.

“Yoishyo/haiyo , ‘ Pound and fold, fold and pound.

Suddenly I possessed the kine.

The joy of mutually working to prepare a gift for the gods, a seal on the past and a key to a future

The sweat released long pent up. emotions—laughter, love, union and reunion.

Without any experience of this ceremony, I do not know how there arose in my mind a longing to become kine. On that snowy day in Nara the sounds of pounding and folding, yoisho to haiyo become intoxicating:

” Stealing in between the eyebrows like a sea gull, diving into the lake to catch fish, a flake of snow pecks the curious quiver of the heart” and you became my usu. Pound and fold. Snowflakes drop and pool receives, kiss and press Kyoto

Travel to the Nara Todaiji (temple).

Departure and delay

The ritual is to pound and fold the mixture into a mochi (rice cake.)

Pound and fold

Can Buddha’s hand accept the rice cake?

Can two find satori (spirit of awakening) in the Buddha’s mouth?

Two become one memory: kine energy to usu emotion.



The mochi is ready. Love for the New Year.

Kyoto review \, 1972

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