Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Funeral part

The buddist priest comes in in his royal robes, sits on a little stool infront of the little temple and her photo and starts his sing-song chant with an occasional hitting of a gong and a gourd.  Then sometimes he takes a wig like broom and waves it back and forth.  Even the Japanese say they don't understand what he is saying.  I could catch a few words but had no idea even their meanings.  Toward the end of his chanting, first the family and then the guests come up and take 3 pinches of incense and bring it up to like smell it(but I was told you are not supposed to smell it).  Then the incense is put over in another box.  

ceremonial washing?

After picking up the bones,  the family are to wash their hands, before going into the funeral ceremony proper.  I skipped this part to take photos, but wondered how their hands were dirty?  The bones must have been very clean after such heat?  Also the chopsticks were used so never touched the bones by hand.  

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Chopsticks to pick up bones

Here are the bones.  Japan does not burn clear to ashes like USA.
Family members are given chopsticks to pick up the bones and put in the urn.  In the end the funeral people take a scraper to get get the last tiny pieces.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


After the nails have been put into the casket, it is wheeled down the hall, around the bend and into the room in front of the ovens.  Below it is going to be put into this oven and then the photo and flowers will be put in front of her oven.  There are 3 ovens here and another funeral was going on at the same time.
After this we were taken back to a resting room with lunch snacks.  Below are DH cousin and uncle who sat across from us

funeral #2

After the man took off the dry ice and opened the casket they gave us many flowers to put all over her body and around her face.  Then after the family said goodbye, they took a hammer and nails and each person had a turn to pound the nail into the coffin.  The daughter is holding the hammer head in her hand.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Japanese Funeral

Last Saturday we drove over to Koga in Ibaragi prefecture to my husband's brother's wife's mother's funeral.  For the next few days I'll share some photos I took with their permission.  Above is what you see when you enter the funeral place.  This place is divided into many rooms and this is the chapel part.  A shinto or buddist (not sure which) temple is in the background with her photo.  Flowers from the family or friends with the board tag of who sent them.  The casket is in front with a white cover and an opening where you can look in at her face.
Below the famiy sit to one side.  The man standing was the funeral director who told everyone what to do.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Donation car to Chuuk

Tomorrow this car will be taken over to Yokohama where it will be put on a ship going to Chuuk, FSM to a pastor there.  This car was donated to us to send to a mission island from one of my foreign wife friends and a secret donor volunteered to pay for the shipping.  DH decided to paint the scratches on the four corners of the bumpers, but because of the wind we had to mask the whole car!  Inside we have quite a few other donations that will be a blessing to the people of Chuuk.  We visited this island 7 years ago and this pastor took us many places there and was so kind to us.  Someday we long to return.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Tee offs

Here I am tee-ing off.  That is not a splash of my ball but a fountain.  I did lose some balls but not in this water trap.  On another water shot I managed to land in the water but it skipped up unto the green!   
Below is Koji's tee-off.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Golf cont.

Oh, what a beautiful day for golf.  The Cherry blossoms were in full bloom.  The lady in pink was our wonderful caddy, taking off before my tee off, yet watching so she could tell me where my ball landed.  By this tee- off she knew I wouldn't hit wildly to the right and bing her!  My balls go fairly straight--just not far enough!  Takes me two strokes to get to DH and DS first tee-off.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

golf carts

This is a unique golf cart.  All courses I've been on before have been self driven carts.  This one is on an invisible track and we can't control it except to start and stop it.  So it never leaves the path and we get in our walking.  The caddy has a remote control so she can make it go when we are all far off on the fairway or ruff!  This was also my first experience with a caddy.  She was great handing me the club that was best for the distance and giving me pointers.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Golf day

During Koji's stay we had a fun day golfing at our friends course that he manages.  We played with DH uncle.  He is actually closer to DH age than his own brother DH father!  The flowers you see behind are for the members of a tournement that was being held that day.  The course was crowded but we squeezed in and truly enjoyed the amazing course.  More tomorrow.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Hat messages

Here is a hat I bought for 100 yen at the recycle shop thinking it would be nice for my father.  He kind of collects caps with strange messages.  I thought he'd like one with an oriental writing on it.  It wasn't until DH told me to turn my heard to the right and read it that way that I got the message!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Friday night supper

These are the friends of my son and his wife who came over Friday evening for supper.  After supper 4 of them practiced a special song for church the next day.  I tried to upload the video of this to this blog but the memory is too high and it refused it!  Can anyone tell me how to reduce the memory or at least how to chop it in 1/2 and send in sections?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Japanese English

We have this long huge empty locked warehouse like building in our neighborhood.  I took a photo of the warehouse months ago and posted on the blog.  Anyway last week they painted on this funny English sign.  Then last Sunday there was some kind of a meeting inside.  I heard they are that group that go around Japan with dark green/brown vans with the Japanese flag on the side.  The closest neighbor and DH cousin said they are very polite and nice to him when they meet him.


I couldn't believe that DIL mother would buy a Zucchini!  In Idaho we have a saying that you can tell the people who have no friends because they are the only ones buying zucchini.  Also we say that we have to  lock our doors at church or when we come out of church our car will be full of zucchini.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Green Tea

We were wondering on our road trip to and from Kobe, what these little fans were for over the green tea bushes.  Father-in-law(FIL) said it was so that when the temperature drops the bushes won't be frozen and lose the crop.  That made sense but my first thinking it was to keep the birds/insects at a distance.

Today we took our son and daughter in law to the airport and they are now flying back to CA.  We sure miss them and are looking forward to our trip over the last of June.

Today also will be the last of our Kobe trip.  Now I will move on to something new.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Botanical Garden

On Sabbath afternoon I thought my father-in-law would enjoy the Botanical garden we saw advertized in the map from the hotel.  He was working for many years in the agriculture department of Chiba State and when we visited California was very happy to walk the grounds of the botanical garden there.  Well, here we are posed and you can see it was the wrong season to come!  Below is about the only flowers we could see.  They didn't give us a discount either for lack of interesting plants!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Church in Kobe

This was Pathfinder day when the new children joining Pathfinder Club(church's own club for kids like Boy Scouts) are given the oath and scarf.  DIL's father was the leader and has his back to the camera as he puts on a scarf.
Surprise's were in the air as the Watanabe family showed up.  He was one of the first guys I met in Japan 34 years ago.  He was the registrar for the college and I was always coming into the office to bug him.  Now he is a teacher in the Hiroshima SDA High School. He taught both my sons when they went there so we have kept in touch.   His son just graduated from university and is working at Hitachi.  Daughter also finished nurses school and is going to work at the Kobe SDA Hospital.  That was why they were there this Sabbath.
Here the Pathfinder club pose outside the church.
Below is the family photo of a girl who came up to me with a baby in her arms and asked, "Do you remember me?  I'm Mika Y."  Of course I remembered her as she grew up with my sons and went to the same school all her life.  She was a year ahead of my oldest son and her husband was 3 years ahead in high school so was unknown to me and my sons.  They are living in Kobe now.

Himeji Castle

Another view from the top of the castle.  A guide explained that the original Himeji Castle grounds extended out to the golf practice range that you can see in this photo.  Now the grounds is less than 1/2 of the original.

The bones of the castle are shown below.  This is important for structural repairs to have a replica of where the support beams are located.
After leaving the castle we had lunch at a hand made soba/udon shop.  Really taste and even I enjoyed it-- of course this being Kansai and I come from Kanto so I had to add some extra seasoning!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Himeji Castle

Here DH is sitting by the sink of the castle.  This is in the main castle.
The rack where all the weapons are kept.  This is only one rack.  The walls of many levels are covered with the same.
Below is looking out the window from the top level.  In the mid ground you can see the living quarters of the warriors and others and part of the walls.  You can see we had quite a walk!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Mon seal

Each family in Japan has a "mon" or seal or coat of arms.  These are the mons of the rulers through the centuries of this castle.  Sorry  the photo is sideways but not much different!  Just turn your head to the left.  Then the top left one is the Iizuka mon!

Himeji Castle

Seldom have I seen so many steps!  And after walking down the mountain for 2 hours the day before.  Actually thanks to Ibropofin and soaking in the onsen, I really didn't suffer too much.
Next day was the worst.
Cherry blossoms were just starting to come out.  And again more steps!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Day after the walk down Mt. Rokko, we drove over to Himeji Castle.  The cherry blossoms were just starting and it was a lovely day.  Here we are posed before the long walk up to the castle proper.  I have visited Chiba Castle and Otaki Castle, but this was a much larger more historic castle.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Mt. Rokko

One of the days in Kobe we decided to take the tram up Mt. Rokko.  It was a beautiful ride up and then we decided to save money and walk back down.  Jack's parents and our pregnant daughter in law decided to take the tram back down.  She had walked it before with the Pathfinder club and knew just how hard it would be. 
Son and daughter-in-law.
If the path had been like this I could have walked for hours and never would have felt any pain the next day.  However the path was like this only here!  Mostly it was like the photo below.  It was fun but mostly down steep rocks.  I knew my knees would be in pain the next day.  It took us 2 hours.  I found a stick that helped to put my weight on it instead of totally on my legs.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Kobe Adventist Hospital

Here is the hospital where   everyone can see in the waiting room it is Christian. My daughter-in-law's parents have worked her whole life.  They both worked in the Examination Department (example blood, urine, bm, etc.)  Below is her father who gave us a tour of the hospital. The mother retired last year.  It is time for him to retire too, but the hospital can't find a replacement.  Last time I visited this hospital was 25 years ago when it was 1/2 this size and my husband's aunt was dying of stomache cancer.

On the 4th floor is an outside roof garden for the patients to enjoy.  This is also the floor that has the hospice facilities which are very comfortable and nice for those with only a few months more to live.  
Below is the entrance for the hospital.  Standing in front is mother-in-law, husband, father-in-law and son.  This hospital is very near the Arima Onsen area...kind of up in the mountains far from the downtown Kobe.