I’m writing a ghost story today in honor of Obon. Obon holidays usually take place in our area in the middle of August during the hottest part of the year. It’s believed that ancestors come home for a visit on Day 1, stay on Day 2, and return to the other realms on Day 3. People clean the graves in preparation, and get offerings of flowers, snacks and drinks ready for the home altars.
Usually, it’s a great time to catch up with families. Even though people are supposed to stay home during this time of Corona, we’ve had family over – opened the windows, disinfected the table and hoped for the best.
Traditionally, ghost stories have been a popular part of the Obon season – it seems natural with the ghosts of the relatives coming home, but also the delicious chill you get down your back when someone tells a really spooky story is said to be a good way to beat the heat.
My husband has absolutely no use for ghost stories, and even dislikes dolls that look like they could rise up in the middle of the night and strangle an unwitting homeowner. So, we don’t tell ghost stories to each other. But still, ghost stories abound.
Here are some thrilling Japanese ghost stories as told by foreigners on the Gaijin Pot blog. https://blog.gaijinpot.com/true-japan-ghost-stories-from-gaijinpot-readers/ The story of the baseball boys (almost all boys in baseball club in Japan get a buzz cut) was very touching, but the last story from Nana about her hotel in Minami Senju was perfect – a fun ghost story that sent those refreshing chills down my spine, but didn’t creep me out. Which story was your favorite?
And for more about Obon, here’s something I wrote in 2017 about preparing for the Buddist priest’s visit to read a sutra for Obon. https://eightladieswriting.com/2017/07/08/michaeline-secure-your-belief-systems/
Also, a quick update to my blog post about nothing.
https://eightladieswriting.com/2020/05/23/michaeline-nothing-to-say/ I’ve kept up with the lawn, my lemon balm is doing very well this year, and the flowers I planted for Obon? Success! We had mums, lilies and balloon flowers from my pots, and my mother-in-law’s greenhouse and gardens provided China asters, Texas bluebells (they aren’t blue! and in Japanese, they aren’t Texan, but Turkish!) and there’s phlox in the ditch.
Only two and a half months to Halloween, and the Western ghost stories!