Saturday, April 19, 2008

My Mom's Memorial Day

Just came back from a trip to my home town Shizuoka, Japan. Sakura season was almost ending in Shizuoka, but I found a couple of trees with good amount of blossom. We call the stage "Ha-Zakura". "Ha" means leaves, and "Zakura" is Sakura. :) Sakura has been associated with many Japanese events. At the time of full blossom, friends and family gather and sit underneath the Sakura trees and enjoy the blossom with food and drinks. I was too late for that unfortunately, but I was happy to be able to see some blossom. It certainly soothes you. It was a short trip, but I also managed to visit my family's grave. March 15th is my mother's memorial day. This year it was a bit late, but it would be better than not visiting at all. So... what do we do at the grave? We clean around the grave, pour water from top of the tombstone, put flowers in the vase, burn incense, and pray by telling how well you are doing, how much you thank them for what they have done, and just be in a state of "mu" to enjoy the moment of being with the memories. Our grave was one of the first ones built in the cemetery. Now the cemetery is packed with rows of graves. These days it is fairly expensive and difficult to find the cemetary, and people started to use what's called "Noukotsu-Do"; literally meaning place to store bones. Some of them have a coin locker look alike system. Yes, the mentality is certainly changing.

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