Aloha everyone from Japan.
Last night, I came back here to my family temple in Niigata where I am helping for O-Bon. It is kind of strange that Ive just finished O-Bon in Hawaii and again I welcomed the deceased for O-Bon in Japan.
Is this just happening? or Fate? Ive just experiend the most chicken-skin-story I ever had.
It was 5:00 in the morning that I happened to see two ladies were knocking on the front door of my family temple in Japan. I knew some members come early to the temple in order to clean up their family grave on the very first day of O-Bon. They clean up in the morning and later at night or afternoon, they come here again to offer prayer with their family members.
So I knew members come early but I didn’t expect strangers came to knock the door at 5:00 a.m. as soon as I woke up. Later I found out they were members but it was really strange they asked me to come to their gravestone without saying `Good morning.` Then they told me that they heard a cat was mewing from the stone. They were wondering how did a cat get into the stone? Since I like cats, I was curious to see a cat in Japan and I thought it would be easy to save a cat.
However when I got there, I found it looked impossible for a cat to get inside stones. There was no gate, no hole, and no space for a cat to enter the stone. It is really impossible. So I told You only imagined you heard it. But as soon as I told them there should be no cat, I surely heard a cat mewing. Oh my goodness, there was a cat. Because this mewing was so real, at least I thought there was a cat there.
Then my mother came to the grave yard of the temple. When I told her we heard a cat mewing, she told me a very surprising thing.
``Kosen, you know who is inside this grave? It was Mrs. Y. Grandmom of this family loved cats and remember when you took cats from the park and kept them here, the grandmom brought a very good fish for your cats.
As soon as I recalled it, all of sudden, I thought this must be my cat Nyankichi who passed away in May 24 this year. Nyankichi was 15 years old and she was always with us at Koloa Jodo Mission and she loved people, especially when we had a service.
Although we had a private service and dedicated a lantern for her but I couldn’t announce her death till now. So I guessed she wanted attention and she came to Japan with me and sent message through the family who loved cats.
When I told this story to them, they said they had chicken skins since they heard mewing so many times when they first went there. But after my hearing mewing, we couldn’t hear it anymore.
Honestly I am not sure about the truth. We now know any cats cannot be in the gravestone! But we surely heard mewing from the stones! The truth I know is I am having O-Bon here again to welcome the depart souls. And I realized reality can be more strange than novels. My deepest prayer and aloha to Nyankichi. Namu Amida Butsu