Mall Spirit

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Waterfall and shrine in rural Japan

Mall fountain

Suburban life

Spirit of a northern place wondering what is happening in the modern world

"Didn't I meet you once at a village shrine in northern Japan?"

"I remember your visit; not many foreigners came up there."

"Then what are you doing in America, in a fountain at a Texas mall?"

"At our meeting last fall some of us rural kami decided to send representatives to do research in America."


"Things are changing -- there's now suburban sprawl, Japanese style -- it's a new scene for those of us who haven't spent the last few centuries in big cities -- actually it's beyond what the city kami know, too, but they haven't quite realized it yet. So several of us rural spirits of place came over to look for ideas about how to deal with the situation."

"So that's why you're at this mall?"

"Yes; the fountain here collects coins and wishes, so it's a bit like the shrine at home, and I get to watch your people at close range."

"Have you granted any wishes over here?"

"It's not my territory. Also, except for the usual sex and money items, wishes here seem hard to figure out. What is a stock option?"

"Another word for money and sex. Has your research led to any conclusions so far?"

"My conclusions? It looks like sprawl and technology are going to push us out of our steady posts. Like everyone, we're going to have to be on the move."

[Click here for a version that brings together all the scattered pieces of this long dialogue with the mall spirit, and the other discussions with the spirits of places.]