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[YRP Students' Essays] The Place Insulated from the Usual

The place that is important for me is the jinja or shrine that is just behind my house. Before I came to Japan, I already had a great interest in the shrine. I think Japanese shrines have architecture that represents Japanese traditional culture. So I still cannot forget the view when I went to that shrine for the first time.

Imagine yourself in that jinja shrine. There are many tall trees around you. At your feet, the flooring is made by a stone pavement, and there are some fallen leaves. When you look up, then you will see the clear blue sky, which looks like a hole made in the ceiling of leaves. There is a lot of sunlight, filtering through those trees and shining on the ground. Behind you, there is a wooden vermillion gate. Outside of that gate is the common scenery, but after you go through that gate, you will be insulated to the special silence. The sound you hear is the rustling leaves, and the streaming spring water in the wooden hut for the ritual ablutions, which is just on your left. On the right, there is a tree which is especially taller than others. There is a huge rope tied to that tree, which tells you that tree is a holy, sacred tree. Right in front of your eyes, there is a main shrine, a big, wooden house with the same rope as is in that tree. In the middle of the main shrine, there is a big, gold bell with a thick rope which is made in red and white colors. Under the bell, there is the offertory box. Inside of the main shrine, there are two springs of greenery, and between them, there is a round mirror. That is what Japanese believe contains the spirit of the shrine's deity. At the side of the main shrine, there are three subordinate shrines, the small houses that contain other gods inside them.

Every time I come to this jinja shrine, I feel myself insulated from the common life. I will forget my sadness, my anger, and everything that makes me depressed. This place will make me calm down, and make strong motivation well up within me. This is the place which is most important for me.

Child Research Net would like to thank the Doshisha International Junior/Senior High School and Yuji Kudo, student and author, for permitting reproduction of this article on the CRN web site.

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