Photographer's Note

We probably all watched terrified the TV News from Japan yesterday. The view of the cars and ships taken by tsunami wave was shocking. But on the other hand it was a lesson to learn. We cannot prevent such events but with a good organization the losses and damages can be at least reduced. Japanese are amazing nation. They are so kind, respectful, wonderful people and in the hard moment so brave. I pray and wish them strength to overcome this tragedy.
I was worried for our TE friends and I am happy to see that they are safe with their families.

Ema (絵馬?) are small wooden plaques on which Shinto worshippers write their prayers or wishes. The ema are then left hanging up at the shrine, where the kami (spirits or gods) receive them. They bear various pictures, often of animals or other Shinto imagery, and many have the word gan'i (願意), meaning "wish", written along the side. In ancient times people would donate horses to the shrines for good favor, over time this was transferred to a wooden plaque with a picture of a horse, and later still to the various wooden plaques sold today for the same purpose.

Ema are sold for various wishes. Common reasons for buying a plaque are for success in work or on exams, marital bliss, to have children, and health. Some shrines specialize in certain types of these plaques, and the larger shrines may offer more than one. Sales of ema help support the shrine financially.

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Additional Photos by Malgorzata Kopczynska (emka) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 13514 W: 141 N: 35072] (158204)
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