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Good afternoon, Kannagara.

[Yukari is currently sitting on the donation box of a small shrine, sipping from a porcelain sake cup. She is in excellent spirits, as always.]

It has come to my attention that some many of you here are in fact foreign devils, or rather foreign devils not from some sort of weird Japan analog like my various ninja friends. And furthermore, I have reason to believe that those of you who are not foreign devils are generally unacquainted with the finer points of the native religion Shinto which has quite suddenly become an issue of great importance to us all.

This is frankly no longer acceptable. It should be obvious to all of you at this point that the presence of the gods in this world is not something that can be ignored by anyone. They will make their presence known to us, whether it is to punish us for our supposed transgressions via the horrors of buzzkill or kittenification, or whether it is simply to fuck with us for absolutely no reason whatsoever.

Today, I am going to introduce you to the enemy.

First of all, those of you who have knowledge about the gods of this land may note a few discrepancies in this public service announcement. Everyone else can zone out for a few moments while I explain myself. Now, as I was saying - "Yukari," some of you might be thinking, "even though you mentioned the native gods of Shinto, and you are amazing and always right, isn't it true that there are a lot of Buddhist temples around here as well? And isn't it also true that just a little while ago, you and your allies were in fact brutally murdered for no good reason by an extremely irate Bishamonten?"

[Yukari takes a sip of sake.] Well, I would say that you are of course correct about that, but this announcement will deal chiefly with Shinto deities rather than those of Buddhist origin, for a few reasons: 1. Too much effort to do both, 2. This entire situation, what with our being kidnapped and continually fucked with, does not strike me as having been the idea of a bunch of Buddhist deities, whom I generally fine to be rather sensible, and 3. None of you mortals can do shit against any of them anyway, so what's the point in explaining it to you? So that's the reason.

All right, everyone pay attention again. Now, as I was saying again. First of all, I haven't seen anyone act confused when confronted with the word "god" regardless of their origins, so I am forced to assume that these Hitomi have been translating the word into your respective native languages. However, the native name for these beings, kami, can't really be perfectly translated into another language, and as such the use of this translation has probably only served to deceive a great many of you.

So here are some facts, for those of you with pre-existing notions about gods and what they are. The gods here are not omnipotent. The gods here are not omniscient, nor are they omnipresent, although I am quite sure that at least some of them are aware of our actions within this realm. The gods are not perfectly good and moral by any standards, not even their own. The gods are not perfectly benevolent, or perfectly merciful, or perfectly just.

The gods are not perfectly immortal, although they never will die of old age or disease, and they are very, very hard to kill.

The gods here are not uniformly equal in power, nor in influence. Some of the gods live in the heavens, and have power beyond even my comprehension. They rule over the sun and moon in the sky, or the whole of the sea, or the whole of the land. But others live here on earth, and may rule over a single forest, or a single lake, or even a single tree. These gods are weaker. Some are even weaker than I am, and a few may even be weaker than some of you, as incredibly hard that is to believe.

The gods are not a monolithic group. They are not an organization, although some of them are friends and allies, and will work together. At times, they argue. At times, they even war with each other. You may seen in the future the gods taking actions upon us that seem contradictory. This is because different acts are performed by different gods with different goals in mind. Let me emphasize this, for those of you who don't understand - trying to please the gods is pointless. It is an exercise in futility. Pleasing one will just piss off another. Give up on that idea now. Or go for it, but expect to be disappointed. I don't actually give a shit. Whatever.

Here is what they are: a bunch of nature spirits, some of which are supremely powerful. And I do mean a bunch. An innumerable amount. There are more kami than could ever possibly be named. Some of them don't even have names. Some of them do have names, names which are probably known to some of you. Some of them have legends which you may know as well. If you happen to meet one, and want to know more about them, or if you just want more information or reading material on them or whatever, you're free to offer me a foot massage in exchange for any of those things. Unless you're Nagato, or Konan, or Madara-dono. Then, you know, it's free. But anyone else, I want a fucking foot massage. It's not that much to ask considering how valuable this information is.

Anyway, each of these deities lives in a shrine - or in many shrines, sometimes, if they're important enough. You can identify a Shinto shrine by a few unique characteristics. First of all, [and here she turns the Hitomi around, to show you all the front of the shrine], the entrance to a Shinto shrine is usually marked by torii, which are the gates you see over there. And right in front of the main building, you will often see komainu statues which guard it. And here [the camera turns around again, this time to show the inside of the building.] Now, this place here, where I am sitting, is called the haiden. This is the main hall of worship. Now, sometimes there is a separate building in the back called a honden, and sometimes there will just be an altar thingy, a himorogi, which is measured off by shimenawa, which you should be able to see back there... [She turns the camera to show the shimenawa ropes.Behind them, in the shadows, there appears to be some disarray.]

Either way, every Shinto shrine has what is called a shintai, namely, a sacred object - it can be anything, from a mirror to a sword to a whole mountain - but when it's a smaller object, like, say, a sake cup [and here she brandishes her own cup, smiling], you'll usually find it in the back. Now, the Shintai is the physical connection between human worshipers and the gods themselves. So they are basically the source of a god's power over the area of their shrine.

And... that's all I can think of for now. Are there any questions?


Feb. 20th, 2010 09:56 am (UTC)
[Rin just stares at the screen, aghast.]

Wait, so you're saying both Shintō and Buddhist deities have it in for us? This... this is just crazy. This whole place is crazy.
Feb. 20th, 2010 06:48 pm (UTC)
I know, right?
Feb. 20th, 2010 06:50 pm (UTC)
Though, well, can't really leave Buddhism out if you're talking Shintō. At least not where I come from.

Just, one would've been plenty enough.
Feb. 20th, 2010 07:17 pm (UTC)
Whatever. I'm not here to educate people about the intricacies of religion. I'm here to rally the damn troops. And the troops, as they stand now, can't do anything against a bunch of cosmically relevant types like your average Buddhist deity. So I figured I would explain about the little nature spirits to the uneducated and leave the theology to you, you know?
Feb. 20th, 2010 07:54 pm (UTC)
Can't say I mind, as long as everyone gets the relevant information.
Feb. 21st, 2010 02:23 am (UTC)
Again, additionally information can be obtained by anyone with working hands. [FOOT MASSAGE.]
Feb. 21st, 2010 02:28 am (UTC)
Come to think of it -- has anyone found any writings on this world?
Feb. 21st, 2010 02:35 am (UTC)

Well everything has changed recently, but before, there used to be scrolls. There was a massive building right near my old home full of them.

You should just start exploring the buildings. Nobody lives in them anyway, so you might as well break in.
Feb. 21st, 2010 02:43 am (UTC)
[Not that Rin hasn't already figured that. She's been doing a lot of housebreaking recently. And mountain-climbing. And relaxing in hot springs. It's not like she has much to do with her day here except explore. Still, she's been a bit reluctant about going through all the cupboards and everything in houses that are not hers -- even while telling herself that this is absurd, since no one is living there and, after all, she simply took a house for herself. Yukari's answer hardens her resolve to look harder.]

I'll be doing that, then. Thank you.


Kannagara - The Way of the Gods

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