Inari, Shinto God of rice, sake and prosperity. And foxes. Trust me, you wannna watch out for those foxes. They're tricky little devils. Back in Greece, Aesop was constantly having to deal with their clever machinations. Here in Japan, Foxes double as trickster spirits, along with their sometime ally/sometime enemy the Tanuki. Both critters have the power to shape-shift, often to make fools of us dimwitted humans. Or worse. They can even sneak into your mind and demand that you draw pictures of them. Over the New Year's Holiday, I passed through Kyoto on my winding way to the hidden islands of the Setonaikai. On the quieter side of Kyoto Station, away from stately Nijō Castle and flamboyant Ginkakuji sits Fushimi Inari Shrine.
The shrine is most famous for it's enormous tunnel of Torii gates, but what most impressed me were the foxes. They were everywhere, always in pairs, guarding the entranceways to each shrine, large and small. I stopped counting at around twenty, but they kept on coming. Some of them carried keys in their mouths. Hopefully not to the chicken coops. It is said that these foxes are benevolent, but I kept an eye on them anyway.
In other news, I'm hip-deep in paper right now, working on the largest and most complicated piece I've attempted yet (that I can remember). With all the overlapping and underlapping and gluing and ungluing, right now it feels more like an engineering project than a piece of art. My fingers are crossed that it all comes together, and that I don't accidentally glue myself into it like a fly on sticky paper. I should have some WIP pics up in a day or two, and the piece done soon thereafter. There are a bunch more announcements brewing as well.