Monday, July 11, 2005

what the hell is a ground cherry?

for weeks i had been anticipating the ground cherry markets...the ad in the events column said "Ground cherry market held on the 46 000th day according to Buddhism"
So wrapped up in the idea that this market was only held every 46 000 days or 126 years i neglected to actually research it. i day dreamed long and hard about the kind of things that would be sold at a market that was only held every 126 years - friends speculated jokes about staff turnover and profit flew thick and fast...and then the day finally came - meeting at shibuya we excitedly jumped on the ginza subway and chatted our way to asakusa to sample the fine wares of the market only held every 46 000 days. wandering from the station to the sensoji temple, the site of the markets, i spied on peoples shopping bags eagerly to see what kind of goodies they were picking up for a bargain. much to my surprise, it seemed that plants were very popular. thinking to myself that i didnt really need any new plants i again daydreamed about the treasures i would find. still we watched as more people flooded out of the site with green leafy plants. as we neared the entrance i saw the tops of the market stalls and was ready to wet my pants with excitment (actually i really nearly did pee myself but only because i had drank so much tea on the train ride to asakusa then serached frantically for a toilet only to go into a public toilet that was so hiodeously repulsive i could not bring myself to swat over it, i had to waddle around bladder bulging until i could hold no more and ended up having to release in a toilet of which the smell is still lingering up my nostrils...but by that stage it was an emergency so i just rolled up my pants, held my nose, closed my eyes and upon finishing reached for the tissue to find not only was there no paper but there was not even a holder for it... ah well i was so overjoyed with the feeling of relief that no dunny paper seemed like a tiny drama at the time...)
so as we serged into the market crowd, money jingling in our pockets and eyes on full alert for cool bargains....we quickly realised this was exactly what the ad said a " ground cherry market" thats right all that was being sold was thousands and thousands of ground cherry plants, rows of stalls all with identical green leafy plants with a strange droopy looking tomato that looked like it had been on the vine for 46 000 days. and EVERYONE was buying them. when we asked if the strange fruits could be eaten the gorgeous lady at the stall said with a huge smile "ah no they are for happy"
if i had bothered to do my research i would have realised that the ground cherry markets are held ever year not every 46 000 days
"Ground Cherry Market

Held on the 40,000th day according to Buddhism, this bustling market at
the famous Asakusa temple is said to give visitors divine grace
equivalent to 46,000 consecutive daily visits. Bargaining for ground
cherry pots is encouraged. July 9, 10, Sensoji Temple, 2-3-1 Taito-ku.



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