“You’re not still refrigerating your underpants, are you?” Buddha asks.
“Once you’ve worn them chilled, there’s no going back”, Jesus replies.
Buddha looks anxiously out of the window. The pouring rain means he can’t hang the washing out.
Jesus, sat inside playing with his laptop, tells Buddha he should get a hobby – one that doesn’t involve chanting sutras or meditating.
In case you were wondering, Buddha and Jesus are on holiday from heaven. They are sharing a flat in Tachikawa, a bland suburb in west Tokyo.
The story of Jesus’s and Buddha’s life together in Tokyo has taken over my week. Saint Young Men, the title of the hugely popular manga series, has already sold millions of copies across Japan. But it had slipped my notice until last Saturday when the manager of my local tachinomiya (standing bar) recommended it to me. After outlining the story, she promised to lend me her collection on my next visit.
I couldn’t wait that long though. The chance of obtaining the sum of Buddhist and Christian wisdom in a comic strip with underpant jokes in it was too tempting to put off. I bought the first volume for 500 yen the following day.
The book has been a revelation. With 5 more volumes to read, my winter break has been given renewed direction, and I have been able to postpone plans to clean my room out.
Admirable as the Buddha and Jesus are though, I don’t think I can live like them. They set impossible standards of behaviour. I still haven’t refrigerated my underpants in the communal fridge yet. And persuading my housemates to let me do this might need a miracle.