I Dedicate These Obon Torou To All Dead DIKs

We are now in the middle of Obon here in Japan. Obon is the time of year when the spirits of the dead are said to return to earth to visit their ancestors.

Lanterns are dedicated to the spirits of dead ancestors and family members at family graves. Here in Hiroshima prefecture, the Obon “lanterns” are rather gaudy affairs made of paper and dowel stuck on top of broomsticks. You have to go careful when travelling on public transport that you don’t get poked in the eye by one of these Obon torou.

I took this photo outside our local hardware store, Daiki, which, as old Hiroshima hands may fondly remember, used to be called “DIK“. Daiki means “Great Spirit” which I think was also the intended meaning of the original name and whichever plonker dreamed it up probably thought he’d been very clever in getting the DI of “DIY” and sticking a “K” on the end to make “DI” (dai) “Kay” (er… “kay” – it’s not quite the “ki” sound we need to make DIK sound like “Daiki”, but good enough for the Japanese market).

I dedicate this photograph of gaudy Daiki torou to the peacefully resting and gloriously rising spirits of all dead DIKs. If you want it enlarged you can Do It Kyourself.


Obon lanterns outside the Daiki DIY store, Rakurakuen, Hiroshima, July 30th 2011