The Dragon King’s Blessing

I was standing on the threshold of a cold, dark cave. The Pacific roared mercilessly against the rocks below and on the horizon;  Mount Fuji peered majestically through the clouds.

It was my fourth trip to Japan, but the first since I had started writing my novel. I was still not sure of what the overarching plot would be, how certain knots in the story would unravel. I was hoping to find an inspiration on my journey.

I found myself on Enoshima by accident. Other plans that we had for that day went awry, and I was stuck browsing the guidebooks for an idea. Enoshima was supposed to have good restaurants and views of Mt. Fuji.

There’s a 90 minute wait to get a table here. The beer is made of sea water and sardines.

But the tiny island turned out to be full of something else – dragons. There were dragons everywhere, dragon-shaped fountains, dragon carvings, even dragon faucets in the bathrooms. In the middle of the island there was a shrine of the Owatatsumi, the Dragon King God, built inside a shallow cave with rows of purple banners in front of the entrance. Recognizing some of the the names on the banners, I consulted the guidebook and learnt that this was where the Japanese artists prayed for guidance and inspiration. And here I was, trying to write a book about dragons in Japan. Could there have been a better omen? I dropped a hundred-yen coin into the offering box, clapped my hands and bowed.

I am the great plastic dragon of Enoshima! Hear me roar!

I moved on, discovering more mysteries of the island. The dragon caves. The secret tunnels. The tide jewels of the Dragon King. I could barely manage to write all those ideas down. Suddenly the convoluted plots were unravelling, the main story took shape before my eyes.

The Dragon King’s blessing proved bountiful. For a hundred yen, it was a bargain.

The author, blessed.

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