Today is a national holiday in Japan, Autumnal Equinox Day (秋分の日).

How to celebrate, other than not go to work (although that suits me fine) and anticipate the cooler weather? In the Japanese countryside, folks believe that the spirits of the ancestors come back to earth at certain times to check on their family’s progress; the Autumnal Equinox is one such day. So today is when they go to the family gravesite and scrub Grandpa’s headstone, and report on the year so far. Filial piety is virtuous, and pleasing to the ancestors and the Japanese gods. That’s not really a viable option for me, though: my grandfathers (permanently) rest a stone’s throw from each other but (presently) half a world away from me. Would the laundry I just hung out be a spiritually cleansing substitute and placate the gods? What is the Shinto position on vacuuming the floor (it is tatami, after all)? Conundrums, conundrums.

Renting a bicycle and going around Asuka, if AnFi‘s photos and blog are any indication, might please gods and ancestors alike. It would certainly make me happy. Beats vacuuming.

Happy Autumn.

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