Sururu Gama and the Shamanism center on Kourijima
Sunday, March 19, 2017

NOTE: Right out of the gate I have to confess to having goofed with Kinjo-san's name. When it appears in my videos
as "Kenji" it is incorrect. The beautiful, witty and kind woman's name is Kinjo. A thousand gomennasais.

It was a cool and rainy drive up to Kin to pick up Michael. As we drove west across island the rain let
up and by the time we were out on Kourijima it had ceased. But it was still cool and breezy - and I was
dead tired. Had not slept much the night before and had already been up and awake for several hours
before striking out for Kin Town. By the time we arrived at the Shaman center on Kouri I was pooped!

This is the center that is run by the most charming, lively and accommodating woman by the name of Kinjo.
Kinjo-san was tickled to see Michael again and was very enthusiastic when she and I were introduced.

This is a BOOKLET (.pdf) that Kinjo-san gave me that explains the Sururu Gama experience.

Kinjo-san beamed as she showed the newspaper clipping of a story about Michael that had been published Jan 1, 2015.

The walls in the center were literally covered with photos, paintings, clippings and other media.
Among those was this photograph of the Kaminchu (high priestess) Toguchi Ayako in the 1960s.
These days Toguchi Sensei is still going strong at 79 years of age - a youthful and vigorous 79 too!

These buildings, adjacent to the center, are also a part of their complex. I'm not certain what purpose they serve.

Arrival at the Kouri Shamanistic Center

Getting to Know You

Well, here we are at the beginning of our hike down to the cave, Sururu Gama.

Someone had recently cleared a path through the field to get to the rocky descent.

Here we are at the beginning of the slippery and potentially treacherous "climb" down to the sea.

The Descent

Okay, we made it safely to the shore and I promptly waded out into the sea to scrub my boo-boos.
but the tide had not yet gone down enough to allow access so we hung out for a while. We hadn't
been down there very long before a decision was made to break out the bento and dig in! Oishii yo!

Waiting for Low Tide and Bento

Makunouchi is a popular type of Japanese bento which consists of mostly rice along with fish,
meat, pickles, eggs and vegetables and an umeboshi (salt plums). There are also other
kinds of food such as a chestnut-rice, sweetfish sushi and meat-and-rice-casserole forms.

I was about half-way through my bento before it occurred to me that I should capture all that goodness in a photo.

We ate while the kids played and ran around...

...and we contemplated the awesome beauty of the whole experience.

Getting into the Cave

With everyone finally inside the cave the solemn ritual got underway, starting with preparation of the altars.

I don't pretend to know anything at all about Chamanism, Animism, Taoism, Buddhism, Shintoism or any
other Asian religion so I shall decline from trying to provide any explanation or details about what these
next videos will show you. Suffice to say that they're self-explanatory to anyone who knows the drill
and for those of us who don't... enjoy the mystique and the experience I may have made reference from
time to time of Buddhism but now that I have committed it all to "film" I cannot now correct my errors.

There are two distinctly different "altars" where Toguchi Sensei prayed and entirely differing machinations. It was a very
solemn and moving experience. I hope that the following videos can give you at least a fraction of what I experienced.

Exploration and Preparations

Prayers in the Back Chamber

Transition to the Front Altar



Ima matta gomen nasai... Kinjo-san, forgive my error!

Extra credit:
1. Okinawan Religion
2. Ryukyuan Religion (wikipedia)

Recommended reading from my library:
1. Women of the Sacred Groves: Divine Priestesses of Okinawa

Questions, comments, critiques? All are welcome. Type here then click "Send it!"

Thanks, Mick

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