Inside this telephone booth of yore lies the Miroku Stone. For hundreds of years (since the time of the venerable Kobo Daishi*) it has been known that if a virtuous person reaches through the little window and picks up the stone, it will feel light. But if you’ve been a bad boy, it will be unbearably heavy.
I watched as dozens of people lined up to find out if the Buddha of the Future agreed with their own assessment of their character…and have to admit that I was deeply entertained when they were ALL disappointed.
Yep, that little bugger of a stone is deceptively heavy (I know what you’re thinking SHUT UP) but…is this not an excellently-told lesson for the ages?
* The eminently overachieving Kobo Daishi (or Kukai, as he was known in life) founded the Shingon sect of Buddhism, which basically teaches that you don’t have to be reborn a gazillion times (sometimes as a mosquito or other unpleasant life form) in order to attain enlightenment. You can do it in one, if you carefully follow his (exceedingly strict) teachings.
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Writing mystery books set in Tokyo is mostly what I do, but I also blog about the odd stuff I see every day in Japan. I'm a graduate of Stanford University and the Sendagaya Japanese Institute in Tokyo, and a member of the International Thriller Writers, the Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters In Crime. When I'm not in Tokyo, I live in San Francisco. I also host a travel site called The Tokyo Guide I Wish I'd Had, so if you're headed to Japan and want to check out the places I take my friends when they're in town, take a look!