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KYOTO JAPAN :Asakusa Kannon: ??????,
Senso-ji (??????, Kinryu-zan Senso-ji?) is an ancient Buddhist temple located in Asakusa, Taito, Tokyo.
It is Tokyo's oldest temple, and one of its most significant. Formerly associated with the Tendai sect, it became independent after World War II. Adjacent to the temple is a Shinto shrine, the Asakusa Shrine.
The temple is dedicated to the bodhisattva Kannon, also known as Guan Yin or the Goddess of Mercy.
According to legend, a statue of the Kannon was found in the Sumida River in 628 by two fishermen, the brothers Hinokuma Hamanari and Hinokuma Takenari. The chief of their village, Hajino Nakamoto, recognized
the sanctity of the statue and enshrined it by remodeling his own house into a small temple in Asakusa, so that the villagers could worship the Kannon.
The first temple was built on the site in 645, which makes it the oldest temple in Tokyo. In the early years of the Tokugawa shogunate, Tokugawa Ieyasu designated Senso-ji as tutelary temple of the Tokugawa clan.
Pilgrims and tourists flocking to Senso-ji have shopped at the small stores here for centuries.Dominating the entrance to the temple is the Kaminarimon or "Thunder Gate". This imposing Buddhist structure features
a massive paper lantern dramatically painted in vivid red-and-black tones to sest thunderclouds and lightning. Beyond the Kaminarimon is Nakamise-dori with its shops, followed by the Hozomon or "Treasure House Gate" which provides the entrance to the inner complex. Within the precincts stand a stately five-story pagoda and the main hall, devoted to Kannon Bosatsu.
Many tourists, both Japanese and from abroad, visit Senso-ji every year. Catering to the visiting crowds, the surrounding area has many traditional shops and eating places that feature traditional dishes (hand-made noodles, sushi, tempura, etc.). Nakamise-Dori, the street leading from the Thunder Gate to the temple itself, is lined with small shops selling souvenirs ranging from fans, ukiyo-e (woodblock prints), kimono
and other robes, Buddhist scrolls, traditional sweets, to Godzilla toys, t-shirts, and cell-phone straps. These shops themselves are part of a living tradition of selling to pilgrims who walked to Senso-ji.
Within the temple itself, and also at many places on its approach, there are omikuji stalls. For a sested donation of 100 yen, visitors may consult the oracle and divine answers to their questions. Querents shake labelled sticks from enclosed metal containers and read the corresponding answers they retrieve from one of 100 possible drawers.
The Nakamise-dori (??????) is a street on the approach to the temple. It is said to have come about in the early 18th century, when neighbors of Senso-ji were granted permission to set up shops on the approach to the temple. However, in May 1885 the government of Tokyo ordered all shop owners to leave. In December of that same year the area was reconstructed in Western-style brick. During the 1923 Great Kanto earthquake many of the shops were destroyed, then rebuilt in 1925 using concrete, only to be destroyed again during the bombings of World War II.
The length of the street is approximately 250 meters and contains around 89 shops.[7
I started collecting Transformers in 1984 at age 11. My very first Transformer was Jetfire (which I still have) and many of my first figures were gifts from my parents. My childhood best friend and I collected and traded Transformers for many years and spent hours writing scripts and casting our other action figures for home-made stop-motion videos that pitted Autobots and Deceptions against Godzilla, He-Man or GI Joe. Optimus Prime always prevailed. I believe that much of what I love about design - myth, narrative, color and play - is embodied in the Transformers toy line and why to this day I still collect.
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