Since Philip doesn’t speak Japanese (yet), I decided that live rakugo probably wouldn’t be the most exciting thing to share with him on this trip. Nevertheless, yesterday we still managed to have a “rakugo day.”
In the morning we took the 100-year-old Hankai street car south to Higashi Tengachaya and walked to the temple Inzanji. I’ve been meaning to visit this small temple–closed to the general public–to visit the grave of my former rakugo master, Katsura Bunshi V. There Philip and I cleaned Bunshi’s tombstone, made an offering of flowers, and lit candles and incense.
After this we went to Somemaru’s house. Philip brought a number of tasty Oregon specialties for Somemaru to try out, a nice thank-you from him and our family for taking such good care of me over the last year and a half.
We had a wonderful time talking with Somemaru, who presented Philip with a handsome signed and stamped paperboard (shikishi) that read “Good fortune comes to the places people laugh.”
Though I wasn’t able to share live rakugo with Philip on this visit, I am very glad that I could share a bit of the rakugo world with him. Rakugo is, after all, the reason I am here in Japan.
Philip returns to Oregon this evening. (Thanks for coming brother!)