For the first time since I arrived in Japan, I was awoken from my slumbers by the sound of sirens. Unfortunately for me I had spent yesterday evening watching the excellent ‘Red Riding Trilogy’, a television drama based around Police corruption and the Moors Murders circa 1980. This meant that when I woke up I thought for a couple of awful moments that I was in Yorkshire in the late 1970s, running for my life, and at the centre of a murder investigation. Thankfully within a couple of seconds I was able to breathe a sigh of relief: I wasn’t in Morley after all.
This weekend marks the festival of Obon, a Japanese Buddhist custom to honor the departed spirits of one’s ancestors, and which generally involves visits to the ancestral family graveyard and other such places. To this end I headed over to Fukagawa-fudoson Temple, near Monzen-nakacho station to pay my own respects. Upon my arrival I was somewhat surprised to see some of the monks performing cleaning duties in the middle of the temple during worship, unless of course the vacuum cleaner was paying homage to the death of Hoover. Going to receive a blessing from one of the priests I cautiously watched the procession of people in front of me, carefully taking note of the correct protocol. Of course when it was time for me to step forward my head was so filled with the intricacies of the blessing that I forgot to put my bloody hands together. Thankfully the priest very kindly reminded me of my error, and after only three attempts I figured out what he was trying to say. I am pretty certain that following my departure the priest began counting his own blessings.