Shooting for private works in Mishima town, Fukushima.
On the 15th January, local people celebrate their Sainokami (god and godesse of the region). The town people have been taking over this ceremony since 400 years. They believe the Sainokami brings them happiness, health, good harvest and (even virility for men!) etc… In the first place, the Sainomami has the shape of phallus!
In the morning, the townsmen choose a single pine in the forest of a climacteric man of the year, hews it down into the direction of the year (This year was the north northwest) after praying for the god. Then, they drag the huge pine log toward their alter covered with snow. This is a very holy ceremony, no woman normally attends at. In the shintoism, Japanese believe that females are unclean creatures because of their period. Yet, the headman allows me to document their precious ceremony.
I spoke dialect with local people, it makes me capable to share the passion with them. Can’t forget their faces beaming like sunshine during the preparation.