Monday, July 16, 2007

Part Two: What I Meant to Say

In Part One I wrote about a Japanese friend of mine who told some kids that they had better not piss off a pair of old baseball bases (below).

The boys didn't get it at first. It took a few more hints until they caught on. Here, I'll let you in on the secret.

The reason she teased them was because of a belief in something called a tsukumo-gami, a kind of Artifact Spirit. Basically, there is a superstition that when inanimate objects reach their 100th birthday they gain awareness -- become alive. And because of this it's not a good idea to treat them badly. You know, just in case.

Some more popular tsukumo-gami are karakasa. Umbrellas.

And a kind of Japanese woven sandal, a bakezori.

Almost anything can become a tsukumo-gami; that is, anything that doesn't use electricity. I guess the Spirits really dislike electricity.

So one day I sat around wondering if I had anything that could possibly be or become a tsukumo-gami. I mean if my husband doesn't break it or the cat doesn't pee on it, there is always the dog who will very cheerfully chew it to nice little shreds.

And then I remembered -- I DO have something. Years ago my mother-in-law gave me an old piece of cloth. She told me then it was well over a hundred years old. Here it is.

I like to pretend that at night, after we all go to bed it looks something like this and dances around the livingroom scaring the crap out of the cats.

Hey, that looks not unlike Spongebob.

{Survivied typhoon. Survived earthquake. I'm expecting Mount Fuji to erupt tomorrow. And yes, I'm knocking firmly on wood as I write this.}