One of the good things about takuhatsu that makes it different from other business enterprises is that there is no carry over from one day to the next. There are no credit sales and no outstanding debt. There is no capital outlay and no bouncing of checks that might cause someone to track you down. Far from it, the worst thing that could happen is that some unsympathetic person whose house you are standing in front of comes out and yells at you to go away. For the moment, you feel rather down at the mouth, but then you move on down the street and some very attractive young woman comes out holding a cute little baby and gives the smiling child a coin to drop into your bowl. Bingo, you feel all happy and warm again. Or, perhaps some old grandmother appears and bows ever so politely. As she puts some money in the bowl, stands there reverently while you while you recite the verse of thankfulness, and then bows again in thanks. So now, there you are, bathed in the religious atmosphere of deep mutual respect. The money she put in the bowl seems all the more precious and you can’t help but thank her from the bottom of your heart. I guess this is just another inevitable outpouring of human sentiment, in any case none of this carries over to the next day. Actually, there isn’t any carry over even to the next instant. Still, it is my ongoing prayer that as we are alive for such a short time, we carry the feeling of caring for each other through each moment of our life. Although I said there are no carryovers from one moment to the next, sometimes there are people who ask for change. One day an elderly lady stuck out a ten-yen note and said, “Look, I will give you three, you give me seven back.” So, there I am chanting the verse of thanks while fishing in my bag one yen at a time for change. The thought of such a scene may bring a smile, but I can tell you personally, the reality of it is not pleasant. Occasionally a guy comes along who looks at me like I’m a moneychanger, and thrusting a hundred-yen note in my face says, “Now, I’m going to give you five yen, so give me the rest back.” Sometimes, takuhatsu can taste pretty bitter.

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