The Buddhist priest and the islanders face the sea and give a big sayonara to the insects, as they leave the island by boat, in a ceremony called Mushi Okuri (send off the insects).
I've been putting off this post while hoping the weather would turn so I could tell you it would be a beautiful sunny weekend for the Opening of the Sea ceremony....but, no matter how optimistic I am, there is no doubt that it will be a less than sunny, far from beautiful weekend! Rain is in the forecast for both today, Saturday, and tomorrow, Sunday (sniffles). However, all events will go ahead as planned:
The Shiraishi Yacht Race will take place on Sunday. Boats have already started arriving today. If the rain stays light enough, we'll have the Moooo! Bar will be open this evening.
The Mushi Okuri ceremony, where we throw off all the bad insects on the island, will happen on Sunday morning starting at 10am at Kairyuji Temple. The ceremony involves carrying a wooden boat around the island's neighborhoods, calling out to all the bad insects (termintes, mosquitoes, etc) and telling them to get into the boat! Then the boat is paraded down to the beach and the insects are left to command the boat themselves, and go off into the ocean (where to exactly, no one knows...perhaps Fudaraku?)
The Opening of the Sea (umibiraki) will also take place on the beach in the morning at 9:00. The Buddhist priest will perform this Shinto rite by purifying the sea so it is safe to swim.
The Moooo! Bar will be open from 9am on Sunday, even if it rains.
Rain or shine, tomorrow will be a big day for all present! We continue to moo!