Erenlai - Displaying items by tag: kyoto
Thursday, 25 November 2010 00:00

What next for Cancún: stakes and challenges

In December 2009, parties and stakeholders took note of the Copenhagen Accord, one of the documents that emerged from the COP15 and one of the more important documents in the post-Kyoto framework since COP13 resulting from long negotiations. However, the parties in the accord just “took note” and for the time being, negotiations to formulate the Post-Kyoto framework continue. The current negotiation process, including the AWG meetings in Tianjin, identify some key agendas for COP16 in Cancún. Tomonori Sudo joined former Deputy Secretary-General of the OECD, Herwig Schloegl and NTU Professor Lee Hong-Yuan, for the 4th Session of Taipei summit Navigating Climate Change from Local to Global. The session entitled "What next at Cancún?" was chaired by Fabrizio Bozzato.

This presentation by Tomonori Sudo focused on the expectations of COP negotiations on key agendas including NAMAs, REDD+ and Climate Finance.


Tuesday, 23 June 2009 20:27

The Shrine of Cutting Bonds

Shinto Shrines (Jinja:神社 or sometimes Jingu:神宮 in Japanese) tend to be full of wooden prayer tablets (ema:絵馬), which can generally be bought for a few hundred yen, allowing the patron to write a prayer to the kami (神god, spirit) of that particular shrine, hang it on the ema rack, and hope for the best. Although some shrines are known for having specialties, such as education (specifically, passing exams), romance, health, etc. most shrines tend to have a pretty repetitive mixture of prayers based on these commonplace themes. There are exceptions though, with the best I have run across being Kyoto’s Yasui Engiri Jinja (安井の縁切り神社, official name is Yasui Konpiragu:安井金比羅宮).

While you may find an occasional prayer for good grades or such by someone who doesn’t quite realize where they are, the majority of ema at Engiri Jinja, appropriately enough, contain prayers related to the theme of engiri, literally meaning “cutting of bonds”-which is commonly used today in reference to the ending of relationships, especially romantic ones. The first part of the word, en (縁) has a few different meanings, including “edge” or “porch-like area in old Japanese buildings”, but most importantly the Buddhist concept of pratyaya which I have not read up on but has something to do with causation, and by extension is taken in reference to such concepts as “fate”, “destiny”, “familial bond”, or “relationship”. The second part, giri or kiri (切り) simply means to cut or sever. This concept of severing “en” originally meant something more along the lines of cutting away the threads of negative destiny to relieve one’s bad luck, but today has come to refer primarily to the more conceptually simple act of severing personal relationships.

Roy_shrine2Every ema at Engiri Jinja is a story, with many variations on the general theme including people praying for their own bad relationship to end, people hoping for a friend or relative to break off a bad relationship, jealous people hoping for the object of their affection to break up with their current partner, and even a few people following the old-fashioned meaning of “cutting away” their general bad luck.

Amusingly, the shrine has attracted a cluster of love hotels, which seems to me somewhat counter-intuitive. Who is really going to be turned on by the idea of being brought to a hotel to have sex right next to a shrine devoted to the ending of relationships? Are these half-dozen or so hotels exclusively used by couples in self-acknowledged illicit relationships, stopping by Engiri Jinga to fill out a quick prayer card hoping for their official partner to let them go easily before going into the hotel for some passion?

(Photos by R. Berman)


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