A mikoshi is a sacred palanquin in which the local kami (god) is transported. So, today, through the banal suburban streets of Minatogaoka (our little development), a mikoshi was rocked and rolled along (for some reason the kami is supposed to get a rough ride). The drums pounded, the flutes squealed. The local Shinto priest paraded by and for a moment I felt transported into another realm of meaning. The air felt cleaner, the world did seem to take on the attributes of grace.

Then the newspaper delivery lady came to collect for the month, and I figured I better get the garbage ready for pickup tomorrow. The god had passed.