Yayoi and I are trying to learn how to function with the variety of people we meet. We don't suggest what kinds of food we would like to eat as then we are treated to delicious treats we may not have encountered before. We try to keep our suggestions as to what we would like to see to a minimum for similar reasons. We would like to say that everything we eat is the most delicious thing we have ever eaten, but the problem with that (even if true) is that the people we encounter then buy these things for us and our luggage becomes even heavier. Point at something on the shelf and say it is tasty and five minutes later the package is in your hands.
Anyway on July 28, 2012 Noriko asked me whether she could show me a Shinto shrine in Hirosaki she is apparently quite proud of. I have seen many shrines, but if she was proud of this one I had to agree to go.
We drove to her medical clinic, parked the car at which point she pulled out a pair of heavy rubber boots for me to wear. Oh, oh, what kind of a shrine is this? We walked up the street to a dilapidated looking property. Noriko explained how the shrine had trouble maintaining itself and as a result had been selling land around the shrine to raise money. Eventually even this was not enough and possibly soon the shrine itself will be demolished. People normally only see the front end buildings of a shrine and this is apparently where Noriko and Soroku were married many years ago. This last winter there were heavy destructive snow falls and they succeeded in damaging the fence surrounding the building behind the front end building. This is essentially a holy place that only priests would normally see or enter. Wearing our boots we were able to get through the fence and see this special old wooden building. Old wooden buildings in Japan are frequently built without the use of metal fasteners. Noriko has taken many photographs of this building in an attempt to preserve its memory.
Mate Hime actually refers to Princess Mate, of the ruling Tokugawa clan who was sent to Hirosaki to marry the local lord or "daimyo". Although I am unsure of the details she was the second wife of Tsugaru Nobuhira and some sort of tragedy ensued.
Click on Mate Hime Jinja to see photographs on Picasa.