A five story pagoda video
My most popular (to date) video on YouTube is about how Japanese people can be both Shinto and Buddhist at the same time. This video started out as an introduction to the five story pagoda. I stood in front of the pagoda and spent about 10-15 minutes explaining things about it, but when I got home to edit the footage, it was just me talking about a pagoda.
Watching the footage, I realised that there is such an enormous background to being able to even begin to understand the importance of the structure. I mean, sure it looks cool in the middle of the forest and everything, but that to me is not the attraction (well, not entirely). The attraction to me is how the history and culture of the place (the Dewa Sanzan but also Japan as a whole) came about, and the five story pagoda is just one way it is expressed. So I set about making a video to explain the background, and this is what came out.
Which leads me to today. I’ve started my 100 mountains of Yamagata project, and I’ve already released two videos, but I’m starting to think just introducing the place might turn out like a five story pagoda video. When I’m climbing, I start to think deeply about how to express the location, or, more correctly, I randomly hold the camera up and hope something good comes out of it. But this just seems superficial.
Last week I climbed and filmed Takadate, and I’ve already gone through and made a video about it, but it might just end up in someone’s highlights reel. I’m starting to realise that this isn’t what I want to do with the project. I want to get to the underlying culture and history of the place, and try and go some way in explaining why this part of Japan that I love so much is so full of life lessons.
I realise that this is quite an undertaking, but if you’re going to do something, you’ve got to do it right, right?
MOUNTAINS OF WISDOM
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