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Sorry for the photo spamming…I am just really irritated by the fact that the primary post that has been circulating for this campaign features only photos of white and cis-het-passing people, when in reality the campaign incorporated a beautifully diverse group of people (as shown below). There were nearly 500 photos taken over 2 days for this campaign. The 9 circulating Tumblr aren’t really a representation of everyone who participated in the project… and I felt like some of the diversity needed to be showcased.
Destination Japan: Ousu
Ousu is an awesome, eclectic, and old but charming shopping district in Nagoya. With over 400 shops there is nothing you can’t find here. Including a giant Beckoning Cat. This giant statue greets shoppers at one of the main entrances to the Ousu Shopping Arcade.
In the US we call these Lucky Cats, but in Japan they have a specific function. To beckon someone in Japan, people raise their arm and quirk their hand down, waving towards their backs. Much in the way that cats paw at the air. Hence, the Beckoning Cat. These are places at the front of businesses to beckon in customers. And so we have this giant Beckoning Cat to entice all the customers to the hundreds of stores here.
Like I said, you can find anything in Ousu. Kitchen utensils, instruments, antiques, and… Kpop. Like these gorgeous boys. Life size cutouts of Japan’s most popular Korean Band, Toho Shinki.
I loved the KPop stores, the anime stores, and the quirky stores. Like this one, practically completely dedicated to gumball machines. A good way to blow through your money in futile attempts to get that ONE keychain. But for though of us who aren’t searching for the thrill of the gamble, you can buy the same keychains for about 100 Yen more (roughly $1.50) in the store. Chaching!
What I love are the old, vintage shops. Check out the sign on this accessory store. Yes, in the old days the Japanese Yakuza (mafia) used to wear their hair like that. Fantastic, eh?
Ousu definitely has it’s own flavor to it. Like this Oni (demon) mural on the side of some apartments next to the Buddhist Temple, Ousu Kannon.
And in addition to kooky murals and vintage shops you will find cosplayers walking around regularly, showing off their styles or just doing some shopping as any proud Sailor Venus could be found doing.
And speaking of old and vintage, check out this traditional style kimono shop. Not only are the wears gorgeous, but so is the little building! Precious!
But Ousu’s highlight aside from its shopping arcade is its Buddhist Temple. So, you’ll find all sorts of Buddhist motifs like this wooden statue of a monk. Coincidentally, it’s just outside a pizza parlor called Cesari that is supposedly one of the best in the world (although those of us who ate there found it to be quite normal).
Walking through the shopping arcade you’ll find everything from shops to host bars to churches. And then you’ll find these giants balls hanging from the ceiling…
As I said, the landmark of Ousu is the Buddhist Temple, Ousu Kannon. A beautiful red palace-like structure, it looms at the exit of the shopping arcade. At this temple, the Buddha of Compassion and Mercy, Kannon (Avalokitesvara in Hindi), is worshiped.
At the entrance to the temple stands this gate (with a huge paper lantern) with two gigantic Nio guards on either side. These are one of the few (if not only) reference to physical force in Buddhism, justified to protect cherished and sacred objects, beliefs, or traditions.
Inside the temple is a wooden statue of Kannon, carved by Kobo Daishi which won’t be shown to the public again until 2030 (hence no picture). Instead, here is the offering box in which you toss in a 500 yen piece before praying with the bell pull which you ring three times after praying.
And here stands a statue of a Buddhist monk. I assume it is Kobo Daishi, but I actually do not know who he is. I do know that he is popular with pigeons….