This morning I headed down to the Daikoku (the god of wealth) Matsuri Festival at the Kanda Myojin Shrine, where a purification ceremony (people coming of age pour icy water over themselves) was due to take place. I arrived just in time to see the half naked and fully hypothermic participants, and then somehow ended up being ushered into a Shinto formal ceremony. Needless to say I looked horrifically out of place, and the large amounts of bowing that was required did wonders for my stiff neck. Afterwards I wandered around a bit, and found a donkey being kept in a small enclosure, whilst a monkey performed tricks in the car park. Whilst the donkey seemed to have some kind of significance to the festival, I was unable to ascertain the purpose of the monkey, nor indeed if it was even shrine affiliated.
I popped into a branch of ‘Book-off’ (a second hand book shop) near Meguro this afternoon, as I was in search of a couple of items. After finding what I was after I fancied a quick peruse through the Japanese study books, but couldn’t find them anywhere and so asked a member of staff, who was busy restocking the shelves, for assistance. It wasn’t until I saw him pick up his coat that I realized my mistake, i.e. that I had mistakenly asked a fellow customer for help. This kindly soul then proceeded to march through the store and track down the language-learning section for me, and looked as though he was about to pick out a few choice titles for my consideration, before I kindly thanked him for his time and resolved, in the future, to look for a badge first and ask questions later.