Ubasute (姥捨てlit. “abandoning an old woman”) refers to the custom allegedly performed in Japan in the distant past, whereby an infirm or elderly relative was carried to a mountain, or some other remote, desolate place, and left there to die, either by dehydration, starvation, or exposure. The practice was allegedly most common during times of drought and famine, and was sometimes mandated by feudal officials.
Ubasute has left its mark on Japanese folklore, where it forms the basis of many legends, poems, and koans. In one Buddhist allegory, a son carries his mother up a mountain on his back. During the journey, she stretches out her arms, catching the twigs and scattering them in their wake, so that her son will be able to find the way home.
A poem commemorates the story:
In the depths of the mountains,
Who was it for the aged mother snapped
One twig after another?
Heedless of herself
She did so
For the sake of her son
In Japan, kotodama is the belief that mystical powers dwell in words and names. A curse will result in sakanagi — side effects of casting a spell that eventually return to the caster. Those who curse someone have a price to pay of their own.
In the aftermath of the tsunami, a Japanese collective created the off-the-grid house of the future where technology and nature coexist.
A montage of the May 20, 2012 annular eclipse as seen near Ikebukuro in Tokyo, Japan between 7:08 to 7:38 a.m. local time.
Tokyo eclipse (via @tamegoeswild)
The inaugural Tokyo Hotaru festival was held last weekend. To kick off the festivities an impressive display of 100,000 solar-powered firefly LED lights floated down the Sumida River through central Tokyo.
Photographed by Nick Knight for the February Issue of Vogue
Fascinating and thoroughly enriching. Getting paid to travel the world while you sample the cuisines of different cultures has to be about as good as it gets!
FOREST OF BEYOND - installation by Motoi Yamamoto, all made of salt
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