The One Word Saint

As the old year draws to a close (and we say good riddance to all that was disappointing and discouraging), and a new year is about to begin (along with the ever-springing hope that it will be better than the last), I find myself thinking about this odd little booth that sits in a quiet corner of Gokoku-ji Temple in Tokyo.

It’s a shrine to the saint who promises to grant any wish that’s only one word long.

Go ahead. Put a ¥100 coin in the box. Light a candle. Try to capture your heart’s desire in a single word.

It’s surprisingly hard!

Let’s say, for example, you want to wish for the perfect partner. “Lover” or “Partner” seems like a no-brainer, right? But think how many ways that could go wrong, if the gods are feeling perverse!

The truth is, I haven’t been able to think of a single wish that could only be granted the way I hoped, except for ones that benefit the entire world, not just me.

And perhaps therein lies the message, don’t you think?

This isn’t the first time I’ve been trolled by a saint, but it’s a damn good one, don’t you think?

The Last Tea Bowl Thief was chosen as an Editor’s Pick for
Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense on Amazon

For three hundred years, a missing tea bowl passes from one fortune-seeker to the next, changing the lives of all who possess it…read more

“A fascinating mix of history and mystery.” —Booklist

Jonelle Patrick writes novels set in Japan, produces the monthly e-magazine Japanagram, and blogs at Only In Japan and The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had

Published by Jonelle Patrick

Writes all the Japan things.

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