Thursday, June 26, 2008

Kamakura Tsurugaoka Hachiman Shrine!

Aloha Kakou!
I know it's been a LONG time but I've got some awesome photos from one exciting trip I recently had in Japan!
It was a trip with the venerable Halau O Kekuhi, who were there to do special performances in Yokosuka and Tokyo

Aloha & ご無沙汰しております!

It was just the season for hydrangeas, which is synonymous with the rainy season in Japan. Here, Emiko and Yuka who took care of us during our trip take a pose.


Nalani, the Kumu Hula of Halau O Kekuhi, was welcomed by Koji, who is a chief editor of the magazine Hula Le'a. He basically made this trip to the shrine happen. Mahalo-gozaimasu Koji!


Prior to the dedication dance by the Halau, we were all treated to a visit to the main shrine for a blessing and a viewing of a sacred dance. That was a special moment where we all got to observe (and absorb!) a sacred dance form of one very different but similar culture, Japanese to Hawaiian. No photographs were allowed so there's no record of it, but we all were able to have clear minds after that for sure!

As it was told to us, it was the first time in their long history that Hawai'ian national have performed on this stage, Mai-Den (literally, Dance Stage). It was indeed a historical day both for Hachiman Shrine and Halau O Kekuhi.


By the time the Halau was ready to get to the stage, there were many people who gathered, some who heard about this special occasion through the grapevine, and some who happened to be there by sheer luck.
The Halau wore shoes so that the stage would stay as clean (and shiny!) as it was.


The first chant was vocalized, and from then on, it was just magical. So powerful and pure in its intentions, it seemed as though all the residing gods were awakened to their presence.


When the Chief Priest saw the Halau's dance, he said "This is truly a form of sacred dance, no doubt!"


And as the assistant priest had said, when he saw the dedication dance, he was able to "understand the definitive commonalities between the two cultures, in which that both dance forms are sacred, as it is dedicated to our gods. But most importantly, the dancers become gods and are one with the gods, and when that unification of spirit and body takes place, that is when the dance becomes sacred."

After the Dedication Dance was finished and the Halau were off the stage, they were given a warm thank you chant by the Kamakura's local Japanese hula halau.


All in all, it was a memorable day we had at Tsurugaoka Hachiman Shrine.
A big mahalo to everyone who made it happen, especially to the elements unseen and to all of our ancestors...

Aloha & Peace,