I’m having a very indulgent week. I made strawberry jam near the beginning of it, and every day since, I’ve had a big slice of buttered toast smeared with jam to go with my breakfast (brunch? lunch?) every day since. I feel so decadent!
Then, the day I had to go to the dentist, I spoiled myself rotten with shopping therapy, even though it was just a final fitting for my mouthguard (no drilling, no scraping, or digging, or prodding – I don’t know why I thought I needed to reward myself). Not one, not two, but three little boxes of plants and flowers from three different shops. I was proud of myself for avoiding shops four and five.
And at the last stop of the day, I got ice cream. Loads of ice cream, not just for me but for the whole family. Spoiling myself is great, but spoiling others is also a simple pleasure and indulgence.
Here are the offerings for our home altar, all from our family’s gardens. (E.M. Duskova)
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.
This is the small altar for our family at the local temple. We brought offerings of flowers, fruit jelly, water, Bireley’s Orange Soda, and some cookies. The temple provides the candles and the incense. (E.M. Duskova)
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?