Monster Island

The reference in my new top banner to monster island is not a reference to Godzilla or Mothra, but rather to the cats that insist on crapping in the vicinity of my car. Some friends in Nara insist on calling me, alternatively, “tamanegi-kun” (onion boy, a reference to the famously delicious onions grown here), or “the guy from monster island” (This is a reference to the fact that I live out in the boonies. Alas, ’tis like the pot calling the kettle cookware.)
Also, not to be misleading, but the bridge in the photo is not the Awaji Kaikyo Bridge (the longest suspension bridge in the world connecting my island to Kobe). It’s the Kansai International Airport Access Bridge (click here for details) that links the airport to the mainland. In an ironic twist of fate, however, the airport is a manmade island created by digging away entire mountains on my island and dumping them into the sea. Even today I saw the huge earthmoving machines transporting the dirt onto barges at Sumoto port, preparing them for the next runs to the airport where they are adding to the island to create more runways. For some reason, I think this sucks. Of course, I think everything sucks, but I find this disturbing on a spiritual level.
You see, according to ancient myth the island of Awajishima (uh, what I have been referring to as “my island”) is the origin of the rest of terra firma. Some bad ass named Amaterasu stuck his spear in the ocean floor and when he pulled it out the first drops became Awajishima (actually the very first drop became Nushima). I guess when Amaterasu busted out the shovel to dig the Mariana Trench things got messy and he created the continents, and when he hocked a random loogie it became Tsutenkaku (go read my comment before they delete it).

7 thoughts on “Monster Island

  1. Um, Uh… How do I say this to someone who has been living in Japan for around a decade? Dude, Amaterasu, although arguably a badass, is most definitely not a “he”. Unless I’m mistaken Amaterasu is the Sun Goddess of Japan, who’s best known story is the on where she hid inside a cave, and everything on Earth stopped growing and started to die (a similar story to the Ceres/Hades/Persephone of Greek Mythology).
    Amaterasu is the red meatball on the Hinomaru, and is the deity to whom all Japanese Royalty trace their lineage back to (like the Greeks claim Zeus as their original proginator). Don’t they teach this stuff at Tenri Daigaku?

  2. Actually, that’s exactly why I got it wrong. The only theology classes I took at Tenri were Tenrikyo and as you know, they use a lot of shinto myth in their teachings. Tsukihi (God the Parent) is referred to as a “he” in the writings and I somehow transposed this on that gorgeous babe Ama-chan, who I always remember when I listen to that Cult song “Fire Woman.”
    Thanks for the correction, although I’ll leave it uncorrected so your comment makes sense (read: I’m lazy).

  3. Dear C. Buddha,
    You were right about the sex of the bad ass that created Awajima by poking his lance into the primal sea, stiring it around and then withdrawing to allow some drops of primal brine to drip onto its reflective surface. This was Awajima. The god was a male. And his name was Izanagi, often translated to read “The male inviter.”
    As well as a Shinto blog, linked with my name, I have a crypto Buddhist psychoanalytic nerd blog at

  4. Thanks, Tim. Just goes to show how much embarassment can be avoided by a simple Googling before making my posts at three in the morning.
    Hey, you’re on the Japan Bloggers list, right?
    Izanagi and Izanami are more examples of straight Shinto teachings borrowed by Tenrikyo. In the Tenrikyo teachings they are known as Izanagi-no-Mikoto and Izanami-no-Mikoto.
    I am checking out your blogs in the background as I post this comment.

  5. Oh, the Yoshida/Yuge Tenrikyo relatives will be so happy that you learned something valuable while becoming such a scholar at Ten Dai! Did you learn the dances, too?
    Awajishima is a jewel of a small fishing village and I hope we get to visit soon, before you go to Thailand! Still gotta hike up to the burnt-out castle ruins….

  6. The castle in its past form no longer exists except for the stone foundation. They put up a three story prefab fake castle the size of a toolshed on top of the mountain and it looks really impressive from the city, especially at night, but it’s literally a joke. I show visitors the castle at night and tell them to get up early to walk up to see it in all its magnificence, and they usually come back pretty pissed off. Merin was a good sport about is, but she said my estimate of 10-15 minutes to the top was off by a factor of 2 or 3. I wonder why?

  7. okay, I get it. But I do like the new banner and for some reason, feel like Godzilla will want to rise up from the murky polluted depths and chomp that bridge in halfsies! Must be the dramatic red sky….

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