跳蚤市奇遇記(一)|Meetings at the Flea Market (1)|骨董市での出会い(1)

和服般明亮的笑容|Smile bright as the kimonos |着物のような明るい笑顔

和服般明亮的笑容|Smile bright as the kimonos |着物のような明るい笑顔

每月二十一日,東寺都舉行名為「弘法市」的跳蚤市。弘法大師亦即空海,曾渡海赴唐學習密宗,是日本佛教真言宗(亦即高野山的密教)的開山祖師,很受日本民間信眾的愛戴。弘法大師於弘仁14年(823年)獲賜東寺,作為真言密教之道場。把跳蚤市冠上了祖師的名字,在佛門清淨地搞的生意聽上去竟也有點濟世為懷的氣勢。

說到東寺,最著名的要數其作為京都標誌的五重塔。四五月時份,趁着來京都賞花人潮和之後的黃金週長假,各寺社紛紛推出春期的特別公開。幾乎每一處寺社都總收藏了三數件國寶重要文化財,平時不讓人見的,到了大時大節,才以這種特別公開形式公諸於世。當然入場費也不平宜。然而日本人面對「期間限定」這四個字一般都是毫無抵抗力的,往往就進貢不少銀兩了。東寺自然也少不得特別公開的環節。除了國寶五重塔的初層開放參觀,寶物館也特別展出某幾件重要文化財的古美術品,還有一定少不了的夜櫻亮燈節目(當然全都是另外收費)。

可是弘法市當天的東寺,難得的寺廟建築群竟然門庭冷落,只有排滿了檔攤的通道人頭湧湧。果然在俗世的眾多物質面前,所有佛心都歸於虚空了。從東門進去,穿過擺賣林林總總的漬物調味料新鮮野菜各式菓子等食材區和燒章魚丸大阪燒香蕉巧克力等的熟食區,經過一無人問津的金魚檔,來到了第一個路口,換了食器家品雜貨的檔攤,擋了半個寶物館的門口。完全不像四月天的好天氣,夏日般的正午陽光曬下來,把檔子的貨品曬個繁富絢麗,卻蒸發了逐一細看的意欲。太多選擇反而花多眼亂,患有選擇障礙的我頓覺頭昏頭漲,任由那萬花筒般的景象在身邊流過。盡頭處左轉,又是一列蔬菜食品檔,直到我來到一售賣和服的小檔前,才終於停下了腳步。

我一直對和服抱有一種希冀,但是正式吳服屋賣的和服實在不是我這種無業旅人所能負擔的,跳蚤市裡的二手平宜貨就成了我的狙擊目標。因此我在日本的第一個跳蚤市的第一個和服檔馬上就讓我心跳加速雙眼發光了。小小檔子兩邊支架上掛上了色彩圖案繽紛爛漫的和服,檔子中間排放了數個紙箱,裡面放了更多和服和和服帶等衣飾。一個穿着紫紅色羽織的中年女士站在小檔裡邊,半隱藏在艷陽的陰影下。我本想趁她不為意偷拍一張,卻被她發現了。她先是一愕,然後展開非常明亮右善的笑容,站着讓我拍。我拍了照,靦腆的笑着向她點了點頭道謝。在禮儀之邦的日本,遇着甚麼也好只管笑着行點頭禮,包保逢凶化吉,萬試萬靈。果然歐巴桑也只是回了一個笑容。當我作勢去看她的貨品時,才發現自己忘了帶錢包,身上只有共約1,000日元的散銀,買和服的話也只得斷念了。而且過幾天便得搬家,實在不是增加行李的時候。我唯有又再笑笑,便溜掉了。

離開了歐巴桑的和服檔子,一路往南門方向走,經過了更多和服和洋服衣飾檔子,來到又一轉角處。在左轉進古董區前,我留意到角落裡稍為遠離通道的地方的一個檔子。賣手工藝材料的半邊檔子圍着幾個女生,我卻被另外那半邊吸引過去了。地上放了幾個箱子,箱子裡堆滿了舊雜誌和書本。我蹲下來,逐一拿來看過一遍,忽然之前的圖書館職業病發作,順便也把亂作一團的書刊重新按種類大小排列起來。檔子後一個戴帽子眼鏡的年輕男子,看到我這樣搞亂檔,立刻跳出來說:「不好意思啊,讓妳幫忙收拾了。」

被發現搞亂檔的我才更不好意思,日語又未達標只能笑着支支吾吾。他看我手上拿着新潮社文庫本的夏目漱石《心》,便說:「《心》的話100日元給妳(標價為300日元)。」

「真的?」我喜出望外。

「嗯。從『心』的。」他打趣說。「算是答謝妳幫忙收拾這攤子。」

在那些文藝電影音樂書刊中,還有一本封面特集是竹久夢二的《太陽》,但是念在身上只得那點兒錢,便只要了《心》。一邊付錢一邊猶䂊着要不跟那男生搭話。來到京都快一個月了,都還沒交到一個日本朋友,現在正是好時機。就是向他請教哪兒有好書店也好,我是這麼想的。但是反覆在腦內練習了幾句日本語後,最終還是覺得太難為情,又是稍稍的溜掉了。都說外遊不能太介意面子,這個樣子下去我真的會一句日語也沒說過便回香港了。

一邊在心裡咕噥着我在一大片古陶瓷器檔之間發現了唯一不是賣日式古陶瓷器的小檔。整齊的陳列着的玩具般的小小西洋瓷器之上,一塊牌子上寫着是六七十年代出口法國用的白瓷。一隻印了草莓圖案的小杯子300日元,花邊楕圓小首飾碟子550日元,老闆只收了我800日元,說是優惠。

時至差不多下午三時,很多檔家都開始收拾了。我順着人潮回到東門外,帶着暖暖的《心》一邊踏上歸途,一邊期待下一次的跳蚤市。

On the 21st of every month is the “Kobo-ichi", a huge flea market organised at To-ji. Beloved by the Japanese people, Kobo-Daishi, aka Kukai, was a Japanese monk who travelled to Tang China to study the Mahavairocana Tantra, then returned to found the Shingon school of Buddhism. In AD 823 Kubo-Daishi was granted To-ji to be used as a school for the Shingon-shu. Named after Kubo-Daisi, this marketplace within the temple grounds does, strangely though, convey a slight sense of Buddhist generosity.

To-ji is most famous for its five-storey pagoda, a symbol of Kyoto. During April and May, taking advantage of tourists coming for sakura and the Golden Week long holiday, the temples and shrines of Kyoto offer each their “Special Exhibition in Spring". Almost every temple and shrine houses a few National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties, normally kept from the ordinary visitors, only to be displayed during special occasions as such, under the name of seasonal special exhibitions. One can expect that it does not cost little to see these special exhibitions. As the normal Japanese are vulnerable to anything “seasonal" and “special", much money are devoted to these exhibitions. To-ji is no exception, other than the special opening of the first level of the five-storey pagoda, the Houmotsukan Museum (Treasures Museum) is also displaying a few Important Cultural Properties art pieces, and the must-have night sakura light-up event (all extra charges required).

However on this flea market day, To-ji’s temple buildings were uncannily quiet. Only the passages lined with over a thousand stalls were thronged with people. In the face of the many material objects, even the most devout Buddhist turns secular. Coming in from the east gate, passing through stalls selling ingredients such as tsukemono (pickles), spices, fresh farm produces, sweets and snacks, stalls selling food such as takoyaki, konomiyaki, banana-chocolate etc., by a lonely goldfish stall, at the first junction, there the stalls changed to home utensils, pottery and ceramics, miscellaneous stuff, blocking half of the Houmotsukan Museum. It was a weather unlike April, summer-like mid-day sun shone upon the merchandise, making them brilliant and bright, but at the same time vaporised one’s attention. Too much to choose from, and this made me, a victim of decision-making disorder, feel so dizzy I had to let them pass by my retina like the patterns in a kaleidoscope. Turing left at the corner, another row of fresh vegetables, until I came to a small stall selling kimono.

I have always harboured a secret longing for kimono. Yet those sold at the normal kimono shop are not something a traveller without a job can afford, so secondhand kimono at flea markets have become my chief target. The first kimono stall at the first flea market in Japan immediately set my eyes on fire. Colourful kimono adorned with busy patterns were hung along the frames of the tiny stall, while in the middle of the stall were numerous carton boxes containing more kimono, obi and other accessories. A lady wearing a fuchsia haori stood in the deep shades of the stall. I wanted to take a photo while she was unaware but was immediately discovered. Surprised, then she smiled and stood straight for me to finish the shoot. I got the shot, smiled and nodded at her embarrassed. In the country of manners, no matter what happens, one just smiles and nods, and trust me, that always solves all problems. Indeed Obasan returned a smile, and while I pretended to inspect her merchandise, I realised that I had left my wallet at home, and had only some coins with me. I could only give up on the idea of getting a kimono – I consoled myself by reminding myself that I would soon be moving house and could not afford more luggage anyway. And so I smiled again, then slipped away.

Leaving Obasan’s kimono stall behind, I walked towards the south gate, passing along more kimono and other clothing stalls, reaching another corner. Before I turned into the antique ceramics corner, I recognised a stall slightly removed from the main passage. The handicraft material half of the stall was surrounded by a few young girls, but I was attracted by the other half. On the ground was placed several boxes, in which piled old books and magazines. I squatted and began examining the items. My old habit working at the library seized me, and unconsciously I began rearranging the messy pile according to size and content. A young man in a khaki hat and glasses who saw me messing around immediately jumped out and said, “Sorry to have you cleaning up for us."

Caught in the act, I was even more embarrassed, and as my Japanese still needed work, I could only smile foolishly back at him. Seeing that I had Soseki Natsume’s Kokoro (Heart) in my hands, he said, “You can have “Kokoro" for 100 yen (marked at 300 yen)."

“Really?" I was pleasantly surprised.

“Really. From the ‘heart’," he joked. “As a token of thanks for helping."

Among those arts and music magazines and books were a copy of “Taiyo" magazine with Yumeji Takehisa as cover feature. But considering that I only had some coins with me, I only took Kokoro. While I was paying I wondered if I should strike a conversation with the young man. I had been in Kyoto almost one month and still had not made any friends. Even if just to ask for recommendations to good bookshops. Yet after repeating several phrases within my mind, feeling very foolish I gave up in the end and slipped away. One cannot be too shy while one is travelling. If I stay this way very likely I will be back to Hong Kong before even speaking Japanese once.

Muttering to myself I found amidst the sea of antique Japanese ceramics the only stall not selling that. Above rows of neatly arranged western style white porcelain, a sign said “60-70s white porcelain for export". A small cup with strawberry print for 300 yen, a small oval accessory plate with lace edges for 550 yen, the owner charged me only 800 yen, saying “service" (special offer).

It was almost 3pm and many stalls began packing. I followed the crowded and returned to the east gate. With a warm “heart" I embarked on my return journey, while looking forward to the next flea market.

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