No Sunday solemnity on the way to the shrine for these worshippers. Instead, there was booze, unfettered joy and a boisterousness more akin to a football match. It was wonderful.
In the age-old battle for hearts and minds, both of them were touting eternal life of some description. Or at the very least the potential for it. But despite countless passers-by, no offerings were made, and the offer of a free bible wasn’t pursued.
So all in all an uneventful draw. A result that the men involved presumably deemed a spiritual failure. As an intriguing spectacle, on the other hand, it was a suitably awkward success.
Surprisingly, amidst the rice fields and farmhouses, what appeared to be a rather nice chapel slowly came into view.
And, as we got a little closer, our expectations were confirmed — it was indeed lovely.
Tokyo’s controversial Yasukuni Shrine is a divisive place of worship at the best of times, but on August 15th, the anniversary of Japan’s World War II surrender, it’s an element that is even more pronounced. The vast majority of people are there for the right reason — to simply remember the past. The very noticeable contingent from the far right, however, are there to revere it. And some, quite possibly, are somewhere in-between.