New Red Hats
Yesterday as I was cutting through the grounds of Zojo-ji temple, I noticed that all the Jizo-sans had bright new hats. In all the time I’ve been going there, they’ve never gotten new hats all at once.
At first I thought that some generous donor had supplied them in bulk, but when I took a closer look, I saw that not all of them were the same style, although they all looked handmade
And my favorite one didn’t just have a new hat, he had a whole new outfit. I’ve been visiting this little guy for years, and he always makes me happy/sad because someone faithfully brings him new clothes every season. This time, the parka that kept him warm all winter had been exchanged for shirtsleeves for the warm months ahead. He’s always dressed as a boy, so that makes me think that someone is still mourning a child they remember well after all these years.
I don’t know why they suddenly all got new hats at once. But even the ancient ones whose weathered caps were more faded and mossy every time I visited looked happy this time.
Jonelle Patrick writes mysteries set in Tokyo
These Jizo figures make an appearance in Nightshade…