By: Guneet Bindra, Daniel Gavrilenko, Rebeckah Muratore, & Hannah Wong. Tama Shrine/Temple. http://muza-chan.net/gallery/dynamic/thumbs/240-kanda-myojin-edo-jinja.jpg. http://kyotonaradreamtrips.zenfolio.com/img/s9/v91/p1924610207-2.jpg.
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“The shrine itself was housed in a simple, square, wooden building, which looked like any house in the village.” (Tsukiyama 89)
It is a place that Stephen and Matsu periodically visit throughout the novel.
The shrine contains a long braided rope hanging down attached to a wooden clapper, many incense, a simple stone table, and a wall covered with small slips of paper with prayers and offerings from villagers.
The Tama Shrine represents Stephen adapting to his new life in Japan and how he is getting accustomed to the culture and lifestyles.
“Matsu had told me that, unlike the Tama Shrine where births and marriages were celebrated, burials were always Buddhist ceremonies.” (Tsukiyama 109)
“...I went through the ritual of washing, removing my shoes, and bowing three times without taking any cues from Matsu.” (Tsukiyama 209)
Tama shrine is an example of how little Stephen knows about Matsu, especially in comparison to all Matsu knows about Stephen.
“‘You never struck me as the religious type,’ I said, beginning to feel better. Matsu swung the towel over his shoulder as he turned back into the kitchen.
‘There’s still a lot you don’t know about me,’” (Tsukiyama 87)
“‘Do you visit the shrine often?’...
‘Only when I feel it’s necessary.’
‘Why did you feel it was necessary to come this morning’
‘I thought it might be necessary for you to come here’” (Tsukiyama 90)
The Tama shrine represents how Stephen finds happiness.
“‘Can you meet me tomorrow afternoon around three o’clock at the Tama Shrine?’
‘Of course,’ I said.” (Tsukiyama 164)
“I could see she wanted to smile, but held it back.” (Tsukiyama 164)
The temple brings happiness to all the villagers and the visitors.
“After a trip to the Buddhist temple to visit the graves of their ancestors, there would be food and dancing in the village to entertain the returned spirits.” (Tsukiyama 175)
“Not only was it a day to honor the dead, it was a homecoming, a celebration of the ‘furusato,’ one’s birth place and spiritual home.” (Tsukiyama 175)
“I looked around at what were now familiar faces, looking for Keiko and her family” (Tsukiyama 98).
Stephen has gained a level of comfortableness with the people of Tarumi.
“Matsu also seem to be looking around for… Kenzo. I’d hoped the silence between them would disappear with the New Year, but it remained” (Tsukiyama 98).
The feelings of love Kenzo has for Sachi and betrayal he felt from Matsu and Sachi is evident.
Matsu is willing to sacrifice his love if his friends can find love. He cares more for his friends than himself.
“The Next thing I knew, Sachi had stumbled… I had just a moment to grab Sachi from behind and lift her to her feet… By the time she turned around, I had disappeared into the crowd” (Tsukiyama 104).
“It all happened so quickly. I didn’t want to embarrass her. Later, when the festival was over, Tomoko spread the rumor that it was Kenzo who had saved Sachi, even though he had been carrying the shrine all the time… Sachi never mentioned it…” (Tsukiyama 104).
“ Matsu whispered that they contained prayers and offerings from the villagers.” (Tsukiyama 89)
“At first my father would also not accept it. He dragged me to the Tama Shrine to pray and be purified by a curing priest.” (Tsukiyama 136)
“It is said when you pass under them, the worshipper will be purified in heart and mind before reaching the shrine.”(Tsukiyama 89)
The Tama Shrine symbolizes the overall journey and growth that Stephen went through during his time in Tarumi.
“I wanted to leave a message on the wall by the altar… so that even if I never returned to Tarumi, something about me would remain.” (Tsukiyama 209)
“‘I know I didn’t know Kenzo-san very well, but I’d like to pay my respects.’” (Tsukiyama 110)
Tsukiyama, Gail. The Samurai's Garden. New York: St. Martin's, 1995. Print.