Saturday evening, on the way home from the swimming pool, I stopped at the local temple, Meguro Fudo, as they were having their monthly festival. It's the time of year in Japan when the plum and peach trees are in bloom, so the local residents were out selling flowers and bonsai trees.
The temple building itself was also open, though when I arrived around 8p.m. they were closing up. There's a big incense burner out in front, with several bundles of lit incense. Three or four people were gathered around, gently scooping up the smoke and spreading it around their bodies. It's believed that the smoke brings good luck, if not good health. It certainly didn't do me any good when I visited on a chilly New Year's morning last year, and the smoke merely aggravated my asthma. Well, Catholics have their holy water, and Buddhists have their holy smoke.
I wandered through the various food stalls, and got myself a serving of takoyaki - chunks of octopus in balls of griddle-fried batter, smothered with sauce and sprinkled with seaweed flakes. I also bought a bag of sembei (rice crackers), and as I was about to leave, I found a stall selling traditional condiments like pickled vegetables and dried fish. They had my favorite, inago no tsukudani. Locusts cooked in a soy and sugar sauce. Crunchy, full of protein, and delicious on a steaming bowl of rice.
Anyone want a bite?