From: Peter Rivard
Date: Sat Nov 9, 2002 2:30:52 AM Japan
Subject: homepage update
I added a page of photos of Obon in Kyoto; I'm especially happy with the shot at the bottom of the page; there's no artificial light, only candles in paper lanterns. The exposure was about fifteen to thirty seconds. Obon is the Japanese All Saints' Day, except that it lasts a week. The souls of the departed find their way back to their hometowns and take up residence among the living for the week. People set lanterns in the gates to their yards to guide the spirits to their door; they also clean up the graves and set lanterns in the cemeteries to make their ancestors feel welcome. On the last night, they again light the lanterns in the gates to help the spirits find their way back to the afterlife; in Kyoto, this takes the form of huge bonfires lit on the mountainsides, in the shapes of a ship, a Shinto shrine gate, and Japanese characters. The bonfire shown on the page stretches almost two hundred yards from top to bottom.