Photographs from a small group of islands
Feb 22 2017 12 Comments
2/22/2017 at 9:05 am
Great contrast! You’ve posted pics of these guys before. Are they ever given any money? I guess that’s their motive?
2/23/2017 at 2:48 pm
Yes, some of them are. And this fella in particular has a surprisingly constant stream of people giving offerings. How much they are actually given though, I don’t know.
2/22/2017 at 9:53 am
Those guys are well known scammers, they’re known to hang out around train stations, I see them a lot outside of Harajuku station. They go after tourists and put these cheaply made bracelets on their wrists and ask for donations, but pretend not to understand anything you say and just try to get you to give them money for the bracelet.
2/23/2017 at 2:53 pm
Those fellas are totally different. Like the ones who try and give out amulets of some sort for cash. Total scammers though, I agree.
But people like the man in the photo don’t approach anybody. The only way they’ll get money is if someone chooses to make an offering. But how legitimate they are is, of course, very debatable…
2/22/2017 at 11:20 am
He may not offer complete enlightenment but he could tell you where (and when) you are.
He looks well presented, even in old robes.
2/23/2017 at 2:55 pm
Indeed. He’s in Ginza so often he can probably offer transportation and shopping advice too.
He is always immaculately turned out. Surprisingly popular with passing believers as well.
2/23/2017 at 2:07 am
That yellow is so dominating.
I love the little “mouse doorway” ventilation holes in the stonework. Attention to detail everywhere.
The more I look at the priest the less I see a scammer. But maybe I am missing something.
2/23/2017 at 2:57 pm
Isn’t it? Very happy the way it came out in the photo.
How many of these supposed Buddhists are the real deal or not I honestly don’t know. But for what it’s worth, the amount of people that give him offerings, and the way he and them interact, suggests to me at least that he’s legit.
2/23/2017 at 7:51 am
True story; I met this guy about 6 years ago at 2,000 or so meters above sea level, on the summit of a mountain overlooking Lake Ozenuma (from memory, Mt. Hiuchigatake). Just the two of us on a sunny/cloudless/cold autumn morning with an unforgettable view; a real ‘power spot’ if ever there was. We had plenty of laughs, swapped a few stories and restaurant tips, and promised we’d meet again the next time I was in the Ginza area; sure enough we did.
2/23/2017 at 3:00 pm
No way. Small world eh? That’s absolutely fascinating.
What’s the deal with him? Or perhaps a better question is, what’s the deal with him standing and offering prayers like this in Ginza?
Always wondered about the stories behind these fellas, so very interested to know if you have any details that can be shared.
2/24/2017 at 8:29 am
I recall there wasn’t a lot of conversation about his background, or how/why he became a souryo. We were too busy getting high on the view that the mountain gods has bestowed upon us! He struck me as being a genuine person with a deep spiritual awareness and connection with the universe, and not all concerned with material trappings. I was only too happy to give him a few hundred yen in exchange for his blessing when our paths crossed in Ginza.
2/24/2017 at 5:30 pm
Cheers for the extra info. Very good to hear. Having seen him now on countless occasions, I’ve always thought he was the real deal. Especially so cos of the way he interacts with the steady stream of people who give him offerings. Great to have that confirmed.