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A lone servant sat under the Rashomon Gate, waiting for the rain to stop. It was dilapidated here, as this part of Kyoto became victim to a battery of natural disasters – earthquakes, fires, famines. Once an affluent area, Rashomon now is frequented by robbers and homeless men.

The rain was pouring, and showing no signs of stopping. The darkness of the night was beginning to descend like a black, velvety curtain. Murder cross were flying in circles, cawing endlessly.

At the corner of his eyes, he sees a flicker of movement. An old woman, emaciated no more than the corpses laying around her, was plucking hairs off the head of the deceased. He was frightened, but more curious at her routine…


Shortly reading Ryūnosuke Akutagawa’s series of short stories, including his famous Rashōmon, I became more intrigued with the theme of decay. I was returning to Arashiyama from Gioji temple. Gioji, being different from the more glamorous Kinkakuji and Kiyomiza, was covered in moss. What was more interesting was the ground keepers have collected all different specimens of moss into different pots – about 12 mini-pots in total.

As I was walking back to Arashiyama, I came across a farm. Or a field. Not exactly sure what to call it. It was set up like a farm, but small and bounded by concrete road and no farming equipment in site. But it was a melting pot of decay – decaying eggplants, decaying pumpkin, decaying flowers and decaying plant beyond recognition.

The above was a short paraphrase of Rashōmon. For the full, free text of the short story:
A highly recommended 10 minute read full of colourful description and suspense.

Posted by PJChan714 17:41 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

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