Rejuvenation, Japanese-style

Night has come to Ise, 80 miles east of Osaka and the site of the holiest Japanese Shinto shrines. The chilly (33°F), placid waters of the Isuzu River can be seen clearly in the moonlight by the 80 or so people on the bank who await the command of their instructor. He barks angrily, and they wade into the stream, chanting, shouting and grunting in unison, praying for spiritual renewal and purification. Then they run quietly through the streets of the village, dressed only in loincloths, their heads banded in white cloth on which the characters for "love" and "sweat"...

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