Tuesday, July 06, 2010


Beth and I hiked up a mountain.
Well, we hiked on a mountain. When we got there though, there were these adorable chair lifts that could take you half way up. Like a ski lift, except with brightly colored canopies, like a dilapidated amusement park. It was a tea party in the sky.
This photo from here.

After getting up top, we ate ice cream, looked at monkeys, and hung out with people trying to shout at aliens from the top of the mountain. Ice cream and aliens; that seems pretty par for the course with Beth.
 Alien communication viewpoint
Takao is known for tengu, it seems. At Takao station, there's this huge tengu head sitting on the arrival platform. This one has the trademark penis nose.
It turns out, though, that tengu didn't always have phalli (phalluses?) on their faces. Penis nose is a more modern tengu. Originally, tengu were more like flying dog-birds, and evidence of this can be seen at the temple on the top of Mt. Takao.
I love these fierce bird-men. It makes me want to read more J-mythology. Of course, Lafcadio Hearn's Kwaidan is a great place to start, as well as translations of the Kojiki. Any other great mythology resources to recommend, either in translation or simple enough for a mediocre Japanese reader to be able to get through?


  1. My wife has a favourite story about when she was a child... she was riding home on her push-bike, and then she became aware of this sound above her... "Aka... Aka.... Aka...." It followed her all the way home... and she swears it was a Tengu... (and no... my wife doesn't swear like a sailor normally).

    Now, I most probably shouldn't mention that she's also seen Santa Claus.... hehehe... Anyway, my point was going to be that for all their sophistication, the Japanese love a folk tale (and a good ghost story).

    In Sapporo - or more specifically Otaru - there's Tengu-yama... home - you guessed it - of the Tengu... I have to admit, Adelaide Australia feels very boring in comparison. We just have hum-drum "bodies-in-the-barrel" mass murders to keep us awake at night.

  2. A very nice hike! I really liked that cat cafe you blogged about earlier too (I'd actually been to the same one). Hmm guess I gotta try out the other places you visit too, seems we've got similar taste.

  3. Ben - I like your wife's story! I have heard some ghost stories from friends and family, but none involving tengu I don't think.

    But you Aussies have kangaroos! And surely the aboriginies have some good myths. The dreamtime and all that.

  4. Don - would love to hear your recommendations since we seem have some common interests. Mitake is nice, too. Went there for koyo a few years back.