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Typhoons - 200 x 100 pixels. 3859 bytes.

September Banners

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Source code for linking to yamasa.org

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Each of the September banners were contributed by Roger Fung, a student in the AIJP from Hong Kong.

Yabusame Festival
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Rabbits on Moon
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Yabusame Festival
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Rabbits on Moon
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Typhoon Season

Typhoon Season
A lot of typhoons strike Japan between June and October. During August and September Japan is particularly prone to these tropical storms. As opposed to names, the Japanese Meterological Agency gives typhoons numbers, in accordance of the order that they develop.

Japanese metereologists classify typhoons into 5 levels of size and intensity. Therefore, weather forecasters may refer to an approaching storm as "Typhoon number 8 of large scale and average intensity".

(Source - http://jin.jcic.or.jp/kidsweb/calendar/september/typhoon.html)

Respect-the-Elderly Day

Respect-the-Elderly Day
The 15th of September is a national holiday known as 'Keiro-no-Hi' (Respect-the-Elderly Day). This day was coined back in 1951, when it was simply called Old People's Day. It was designated a national holiday in 1966, and it's name was also changed.

This is a day when one shows respect to long-time contributors to society, celebrates their longevity, prays for their health, gains greater awareness and understanding of welfare issues confronting the elderly, and thinks about how welfare services can be improved.

Because this is a relatively new holiday, there are no customs associated with this day.

(Source - ttp://jin.jcic.or.jp/kidsweb/calendar/september/keiro.html)


Every year from the 14th to 16th of September, a grand festival is held at the Tsurugaoka Hachiman Shrine in Kamakura, 45 kilometres southwest of Tokyo. The highlight comes on the final day, when a Yabusame (mounted archery) ceremony is held. This ritual is a symbol of this ancient city.

In the ceremony, archers on horseback shoot at 3 wooden targets about 50cm square and 1cm thick whilst speeding along in full gallop. The targets are placed around 70 metres apart.

The Yabusame in Tsurugaoka Hachiman Shrine features 21 riders in all. The first 3 are clad in the hunting gear of the Kamakura period (1185-1333), whilst the remaining 18 are attired in samurai costume of the Edo period (1603-1868).

(Source - http://jin.jcic.or.jp/kidsweb/calendar/august/kinenbi.html)

Rabbit on the Moon

Rabbit on the Moon
The night of the 15th of September, or 'Jugo-ya' (Fifteenth night) is a time when the Japanese go out and appreciate the beauty of the mid-autumn full moon. Such activity is known as 'O-tsuki-mi' (moon viewing). 'Mochi' (rice dumplings), watermelons, chestnuts and numerous autumn fruits are offered to the bright, full moon. Such offerings are arranged on small, decorative stands and are placed near the windows of Japanese homes.

The Chinese also have a very similar festivity during the mid-autumn period, known as the 'mid-autumn festival'. It is held on the fifteenth night of the eigth month of the lunar calendar.

Looking at the night skies lately, I have been able to see the moon better and better (well, either the skies are clearing up for Autumn or I am being less of a nerd and am actually going out for my recommended daily dose of fresh air). Looking at the moon, I have came up with this month's title graphic design.

The rabbit is pounding on rice, making 'mochi' for the Jugo-ya festival. The 'Tsukiyo no Usagi', or The Rabbit on the Moon, is a well-known legend amongst Japanese people; it is also one of the most traditional imageries of Japan. Why is there, out of all things, the shadow of a rabbit on the moon? And why do people offer food to the moon on Jugo-Ya? A touching Buddhist story explains...

...A long, long time ago in a far distant land there lived a rabbit, a fox and a monkey who believed that they had sinned in their former lives. Thus, as punishment, they are reincarnated as animals. Determined to recompensate for their former sins, they gathered one day and promised to each other to be good and love each other as brothers.

From heaven, Taishakuten, a deity in the Land of Gods, looked upon them in disbelief.

"Impossible! The present world is filled with hatred! Even siblings will go as far as to hate, rob or even kill each other. These humans have no compassion and regret anymore, you are telling me that you ANIMALS have it?" he thought to himself.

As a test of their true faith, Taishakuten transformed himself into a weak, old man, and descended to the sinful world where the three animals lived. He laid Himself down on a path, pretending to be in severe sickness, great pain and nearing death. Soon enough the three animals passed by this seemingly dying old man.

"Salvation.. please, help this old man. I have an unfinished journey in front of me, but I have been overcome by hunger and thirst.. Anyone, anything, please offer this old man his salvation.." He begged to the three animals in a frail voice.

Seeing this as the perfect chance to prove their determination to be good, the monkey ran off into the forest and brought back fruits and vegetables; the fox went to the graveyard and brought back offerings to the dead people have left behind; rice cakes, fish, beverages and such.

Being small and weak, the rabbit had to steer well away from hunters and mischevious children who take pleasure in bullying such timid animals. Thus, he was not able to find anything to save the dying man.

In great shame, he went back to the old man. "I am so sorry but I have yet to find anything; I will now be searching elsewhere. Please make a small fire and wait for my return," he requested.

Standing proudly by the old man, the fox and monkey were getting impatient, "The rabbit brought back nothing and now he tells us to make a fire and wait for him? Useless!" exclaimed the fox and the monkey in disgust.

Moments later the rabbit returned, still with nothing. He stared into the small fire and jumped into its blazing flames, making himself food for the old man......

Taishakuten, being very impressed and touched with such a self-sacrificing act, proclaimed that the rabbit shall be ascended to the moon, so that humans will remember the rabbit, and his selfless act forever.

C O M M U N I T Y   M E M B E R S

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