Near my home is the shopping district for downtown Fukushima City. It used to be a lot more bustling, say a half-century ago. But nowadays, like many downtown areas, it is a much quieter area.
There’s a little street called Bunka Dori (Culture Street) and on that street, there is a little shrine. It’s really quite easy to miss. Last year I noticed it had a hydrangea bush, and so this year I wanted to take its photo while its hydrangeas were blooming. These photos were taken last Monday. (July 10, 2017)
The little shrine. It seems very well taken care of.
The hydrangea bush. Most hydrangeas are left to wither and turn brown, but last year, these flowers were clipped off when they started to turn. (Like in “The Walking Dead.” They’ve turned. They’re Walkers! Oh, wait–you’re too young to watch “The Walking Dead.” It’s a show* about zombies, although the actual word zombies is never mentioned during the entire show. Am I getting off track here? Sorry.)
Anyway, the blossoms were clipped off and I couldn’t get their photo last year.
In preparation for this blog post, I showed this photo to my Wednesday Japanese teacher. She said she thought this was a Jizou statue, but wasn’t 100 percent sure.
So I just now showed it to my husband (who is Japanese) and asked, “Is this a Jizou?” and he said “Yeah, maybe.”
Assuming that it is a Jizou, it is much more nicely dressed than most Jizou statues. Jizou statues are often dressed in red, but their attire is usually much simpler. And often dirty and wind-blown. Like I said, this statue is obviously being well taken care of.
Here’s me standing back and taking the photo. Bunka Dori is that gray striped street. There are shops along it, but unfortunately all you can see in this particular photo is a parking lot.
I arrived in Fukushima City in 2006, and have lived in this same area. I have noticed the downtown area “going down” (as my mother would say.) It was in the process of declining when I arrived. Cute shops are going out of business slowly, one by one. They are replaced by parking lots or seedy bars. Even before the earthquake, Fukushima City was not exactly a tourist hot spot. And the fear of radiation and so forth has only kept the people away even more so. (Except for those who come here specifically BECAUSE of the disaster.)
*Yeah, I know “The Walking Dead” was a comic book first. I haven’t read it though. It can be quite difficult to acquire English materials while living in Japan so……I haven’t read it yet. Though I do wonder if American libraries even carry it?