FUN FACT: Take a look at the picture on the bottom of this photo. Notice how there are two panel-like structures coming out of the tip of the roof. See how the tips of these structures are horizontal to the sky? This is a symbol of "Solar Shinto," or that the Shrine is dedicated to Amaterasu, the sun deity. The other main Shinto deity is the storm deity, Izumo. Worship to this deity is "Agrarian Shinto," because storms bring rain, and therefore helps agriculture. If the shrine is dedicated to Izumo, the tips of these panels would be vertical, not horizontal.
He says that when he got in, the ground was covered in black pebbles, with a pathway of white pebbles. He and his coworkers were to stand only on the black pebbles, for the white-pebbled pathway was for the Imperial Family... and super-special persons. While my father was not included in this particular category, his CEO received this special treatment.
They received oharai by a priest, which is "purification," and in some cases, "exorcism." A haraigashi (I can describe it best to visually be a giant droopy pom-pom made out of white paper) is shaken over a person, object, or place to rid the subject of any bad spirits, sins-- a purification process significant in Shinto.
Anybody ever seen the drama Hanakimi? If you have, remember Kayashima, the guy with the supernatural powers? The drama shows him holding this paper object after performing oharai on Masao "Oscar" Himejima, who is possessed by a bad spirit.
ANYWAYS, I hope you enjoyed this post that was (mostly) about the Ise Jingu Shrine.
Until next time,