The wood so softly singing
In a language strange to hear
And the song it sings will find you
As the twilight draws you near


Japanese Ship of Souls

They say the sea always roughens during the period of the Festival of the Dead in the seventh month of the old lunar calendar. After the Ships of Souls have been launched no one dares enter it: no boats can be hired : all the fishermen remain at home. For on that day the sea is a highway for the dead, who must pass back over its waters to their mysterious home, and therefore upon that day is it called Hotoke-umi - the Buddha Flood - the Tide of the Returning Ghosts. And ever upon the night of the sixteenth day, whether the sea be calm or tumultuous, all its surface shimmers with faint lights gliding out to the open, the dim fires of the dead; and there is heard a murmuring of voices, like the murmur of a city far off, the indistingshable speech of souls.

Lafcadio Hearn (1891)