…some feet away from me at the bottom of Miyamasu-zaka. He’s maybe 12 years old, and bellows in short bursts agan and again as I wait for the light. The noise of the street makes it hard to hear what he is saying, so I walk over and ask him.
“What is that you’re you saying?” I ask.
He shows me the small book he holds in his hands. Seven statements are printed there in large, vertical text.
“It’s this. They say if you read them aloud again and again 喜びが湧く (you’ll be overcome with joy).”
“Does it work?,” I ask.
“It does!,” he says. “My father used to drink, and when he would get drunk he and my mother would fight. It was awful. But when I started reading this aloud he stopped, and now he and my mother are very happy.”
“You must be happy, too.”
“I am,” he says with a quick smile.
“よかったね。頑張ってください (That’s good. You keep it up, okay?),” I say.
“頑張ります (I will),” he says, and I can see that he means it.