Monday, August 2, 2010

Hamaorisai 2010 in Chigasaki

The Hamaorisai matsuri or festival takes place early in the morning around the middle of July on Southern Beach in Chigasaki, near Tokyo Japan. Over thirty mikoshi, some of which have been carried through the night from surrounding shrines arrive at the beach before sunrise. As the sun comes over the horizon around 5 am teams of men and women, some wearing just fundoshi loincloths and colourful towels around their heads take each of the mikoshi into the surf to purify them. This is a traditional ritual with ancient fishermen`s roots but the pain killing alcohol many have been consuming since the night before also make it a test of bravado and strength. the waves on this surfing beach can be big and each team try to challenge each other to see who can go further and deeper into the ocean. When this is over the mikoshi make their way back to the sand dunes behind the beach, lining up under long purple flags and bamboo boughs where they are blessed by white-robed monks in a traditional Shinto ceremony. That is the end of the matsuri and many of the supporters will wander along the beach and into town searching for friends and more alcohol. Some however will work their worn shoulder under the bars of the mikoshi again for one last challenge in the surf. (Source - Demotix)

I went with my co-first timers Tata and Rommel with second timers Jesslee and John. We stayed at John's place for the night but me and John didn't sleep. John made reservations for a taxi that will pick us up at 4AM. The taxi ride from John's place took about 25 minutes, but we arrived at the festival at around 4:45AM because it took us another 15 minutes to walk to the site.

This group was one of the first who went in to have their shrine purified not only by the sea but also by the first light of the real summer. I wanted the sunlight to hit the Mikoshi and I was happy that it came out like this.. I love the golden glow.. please also notice the mild glow in the water from the reflection.

I took this shot from the beach, I guess I was lucky that I got this clean without even going into the water. Hundreds of other photographers were there not to mention thousands of onlookers and the only way to get a good shot is to get into the water with them.

Here are the rest of the photos I took with the EF 50mm 1.4 on the 50D.

The Bayanihan Group Presents a Photo Exhibit for Charity

The Poster

The Philippines is a country of more than 94 Million people mostly living under the grueling grip of poverty. Once a nation considered as one of the best in Asia, now, this archipelago is in turmoil, pushed “face-down” deeper into the dirt because of its bad and corrupt government. Although, there is a promise of hope, a promise of change and development with its new President, its people who are mostly hungry, cannot help but wonder. When will their stomachs be filled? When will the promises be kept? Most of its best professionals fly out to other countries to seek greener pastures, their sense of nationalism, if not gone, thinned to almost nothing. They almost gave up on their country, after all, putting food on their family’s table is indeed a sensible priority – family first, country later.
The Bayanihan Group is made up of these said professionals, the same professionals who can only gaze the hardships of their country from afar, but the enlightened ones. Formed by the ties that make a Filipino family strong, the bonds of friendship that share the same passion, and with that passion, a desire to make a difference, the Bayanihan Group empower its members through the strength of being one. United we are strong. Realizing a need for change, the group tries to help even in its simplest and smallest way. To give.
For the second year in a row, it organizes a Photo Exhibit where most of the proceeds goes to charity. On August 11 – 15, 2010, at the 3rd Floor of Kawasaki River K Tower, Kawasaki Art Garden – Gallery 3, the Bayanihan Group presents “Bayanihan Photo Exhibit 2010” themed “The Beauty of Japan and the Philippines”.
This year, we have gathered more than 35 Filipino photographers, contributors who are willing to sell their best photos for a cause. The photos are printed in A3 and framed in a black metal frame with black matting.
More of a double purpose event, this exhibit not only aims to showcase the talent of Filipino photographers but it also projects the beauty of these two countries. But it doesn’t stop there, each photo tells a story on its own apart from the story that the photographer might tell. May it be a journey from poverty to a life in Japan, or it can be a tale of finding an identity amidst this “in your face, succeed or fail” culture of this extreme Japanese city of Tokyo. Whatever the story is, it is best told by the teller, by the photographer.
So join us in our cause. Lets help rebuild the Philippines. See the photos live. Listen to the stories. Come to the Bayanihan Photo Exhibit 2010.