I believe he is real even though I have never seen him.
I have recently finished watching Natsume Yuujinchou. Natsume can see and interact with the spirits. From his point of view, they are living among us humans. Though human cannot see the spirits, the connection exists. People sometimes pray for their help, sometimes offer them food as an offering. The spirits are everywhere, in every street corner, every tree, every statue, every shrine and every house.
When I watched Natsume Yuujinchou, I had no problem getting into the story. Those spirits were not just fantasy or fairy tale. They were not like Pokemon which we all know was not real. To me, the story of the spirits went hand in hand with my everyday belief and probably with my daily life. Here, I am sharing some of them with you.
The spirits in my backyard
Well, it wasn’t exactly my backyard since the land itself didn’t belong to me legally. Right behind my house, there was a pretty wide unused land. Many tall trees grew there; it was like a little forest. At the center of the land, there was an ancient well with large ancient tree taking root right be its side. The tree root had penetrated so deep that it became part of the well’s stone wall. My family psychic (yep, we had family psychic!) once told me that the well was a sacred place guarded by the spirits of an elderly couple. They dressed the way people used to do a few hundred years ago. Fortunately, they are kind and caring. My family and my neighbor had erected a small shrine at the well. We often offered them food and asked for their blessing and protection. I suspected that my cat could see them because I often saw him sitting at the well staring at something I could not see; maybe it was just some small animals hiding among the trees.
Then tragedy happened last year. The land was sold to a different owner who planned to build an apartment complex there. All the trees are brutally cut down, the ground was totally leveled. Our sacred ancient well and tree were completely destroyed. It was a common belief among the locals that anyone who destroys ancient well would bring upon oneself misfortune. I could not be sure what happened to the new owner exactly but one full year had passed and there were still no signs of any construction on this land. Nowadays the land behind my house was a lonely, lifeless and empty space. I can feel the loneliness weighting in my heart every time I look at it. I always wonder if the sadness I am sensing belongs to the elderly couple who have lost their home.
Last week, I attended a funeral. It was a nice and quiet one but what I wanted to share was the coin tossing. During the body transportation from the house to the temple where the funeral was taking place, coins would be tossed out of the car at every road intersection, gateway and bridges the car passed through. The coins were payment for the spirits who guarded these said areas so that they let the spirit of the dead pass through. That sounded kind of spooky because that meant there were spirits everywhere we went. Luckily, I am the person who completely lacks any kind of sixth sense. I try to imagine those spirits looking kind of strange but funny like they are in Natsume Yuujinchou and it helps.
That’s just only a few examples of how the spirits affect my daily life. They are not deities and they have feelings just like we do. It’s just that we cannot see each other or directly talk together, can we? Of course, I am Asian and I commonly worship ghosts. I wonder how Western fans feel about those spirits and anime which deal with the similar subject.
ps. I will write full review of this series sometimes soon.