Warning from beyond the grave-Paris and Japan-part 18


The French believe in guardian angels, while the Asians seek help from the spirits of their ancestors.  KAMAKURA is my home and the birthplace of the Samurai government.  The name Samurai stands for SHIZOKU, the society of ancient warriors who rebelled against the emperor who resided in another ancient capital KYOTO.  The Samurai reign continued for centuries until 1867, when the last grand Lord of Samurai, or Shogun chose to avoid civil wars and returned the sovereignty to the emperor.  It was a good decision in that it modernised Japan, but it also led to the birth of the Imperial army that did things that the Samurai would never have done, like taking women to the battlefields.  Samurai warriors believed that the presence of women would soil the sacred life and death battle, bringing fatality to those who violated this code.  Probably this superstition was started by a warrior who wanted to protect women.

I asked my mother to accompany me on a trip to Akashi Castle Ruins, where my Samurai ancestors served the Lord centuries ago.  I wished to thank the spirit of my ancestors who saved my life by waking me up the night Mr PRIDE and his criminal chef attempted to electrocute me to death.   The Samurai's long sharp sword was not only for attacking the opponents but also for cutting into dark force.  Another one of superstitions, maybe, but something did push my back up, so I would sit up that night.  Something kept me near calm that I did not panic even though death was near.

Standing before the ancient castle ruins, I felt nostalgia despite it being my first time visiting.  Although we no longer live there, our family is registered at this address to stay connected to our roots.  Before the family register system was digitalised, the seal of Shizoku (the authentic name for Samurai) was stamped on each copy of our family register.  My late grandfather was much pleased when he saw the proof of Samurai lineage.   Thus, marriage was arranged between his daughter (my mom) and my father, who had just passed away.

The ancient castle ruins are surrounded by waterways where many carp live.  I threw in some cookie crumbs, which immediately attracted many fishes.  It was peaceful sight until…IT appeared.  A colossal carp swam vigorously towards me with its mouth wide open.  The inside of its mouth was eerie black, and instinct told me not to feed this monstrous carp, or my spirit would be sucked into the abyss of that mouth.  My mother also noticed it and shuddered at the sight.  It was only a fish!  But something was ominous about it…as if it was greed manifested.  Other fishes would close and open their mouths, but not this one.  Its mouth was kept open and would approach closer and closer to us.  There was a shadow around that particular carp, and my mother and I just had to walk away.

You might relate Japanese with Buddhism, but there were Catholics among the samurai lords too.  Catholicism does not emphasise money, and it suited the Samurai who lived and died for honour instead of money.  They knew the importance of money, which was needed for wars; thus, finance was entrusted to merchants (a step lower in the medieval hierarchy in Japan.)   The Samurai knew not to be caught up by greed because it would make them cling to life, making them less courageous on battlefields.  

Also, my ancestors may have sensed that 'greed' would take over our soul and change us into something sinister…like that avaricious carp trapped in that waterways.  Perhaps my Samurai ancestor showed me that carp so I would reassess my motive to fight the restaurant.  If it was greed, walk away.  If it was to protect the honour of the Japanese, fine.  I did not want to tarnish our image by lying to the next resident, probably a French person, about this apartment.  I must fix the problem before I hand this historical apartment to someone else.  

As I packed for my return trip to Paris, I opted to upload the emblem of our family onto my laptop so I could seek courage by sighting it every day.  Every family in Japan inherits emblems, but the ones with simple designs are reserved for Samurai descendants.  Warriors needed banners to display their emblems so the allies would not attack them.  If they lost their banners, new ones needed to be made quickly.  Simple designs that did not take time to draw were a must for Samurai warriors.  My family's emblem, KUYOBOSHI, symbolises the sun in the centre surrounded by eight stars, though they look more like dumplings to me.  (I'm sorry, my ancestors!)  

samurai emblem of 8 stars around the sun

I flew to  Paris with trepidation, but my apartment in Paris was no longer a death trap nor inhabitable.  As for my near-death incident caused by the restaurant, Mr PRIDE breathed not a word about it, My lawyer could not establish the link between the restaurant and the electricity leakage into my apartment because my electrician arrived at the scene too late to assess the situation, and the Syndic treated it like it never happened.  I advise against purchasing apartments in Paris if you are not French because the real estate agents cannot guarantee that the Syndic will be fair to you.  (I also warned you in my other episode 11: The true horror of buying apartments in modern Paris-Part 11) Americans, Australians and Japanese that I know have been outright ignored.  I know Italian landlords, though EU citizens are occasionally misinformed because they cannot know all the French regulations. 

Mr PRIDE was always going to be Mr PRIDE.  He still did not insulate his kitchen ceiling to suppress the noise of the tall commercial refrigerators and big freezers.  His reason was that it had not been included in the noise report by inspector RAPHAEL.  The louder noise from the ventilator exceeded all other noises, and the inspector could not record all the noise.  This meant I would continue to be exposed to mechanical noise during the night.   Therefore,  Mme. HARMONY told me not to drop my lawsuit that accused the restaurant from Hell of its wrongdoings.  However, this lawsuit did not seem to rattle Mme HEART anymore...