Families go to visit the graves and temple memorial halls with offerings of flowers, snacks, candles and insense sticks. It's a time to remember where you came from.
Luckily not in this house......
I guess in Kawagoe in Saitama that Okaasan's brothers and their wives are visiting graves and temples, but with no family connections here in Sapporo Okaasan and Yujiro have to do nothing.
I did mention to Yujiro that maybe we should get Okaasan to telephone one of the brothers and make a family connection at this special time...but he didn't seem very interested...and I doubt they will bother to call her. Or that Useless Elder Brother will call his mother.
|Odori Park, Sapporo has BBQ and beer gardens under the TV Tower.|
Lucky all of this. We can spend a holiday weekend doing what we like. He and I had a date out on Saturday night, and we've watched videos, and I've seen friends who are visiting the city.
The beer garden has one more day to go...and in Odori Park there are preparations for public Bon Dancing, the final end-of-summer event before we get into autumn.
But, this Obon made me think about how we Westerners deal with death and remembrance, cos I've had a lot of that in the past 2 years.
I did some research for classes and discovered, a little to my surprise, that 75% of funerals in the Uk now are cremations and in 60% of those...the family take away the ashes for private scattering, or interrments in gardens or Memorial Gardens...or football grounds. Even the famous Kew Gardens near London offer a scattering service to the family's of garden lovers!
Having a family grave is just slowly slipping out of fashion in the UK. For cost, space and hassle reasons.
I had 4 parents - real and step. All of them were cremated and scattered in private gardens near their homes. But houses that are sold on and don't remain in the family for years to come.
|Step-aunt and I glumly about to scatter my step-mum's ashes last autumn.|
And then I tried to recall where and how my grandparents were....Dad's parents died when I was a child and teenager. Mum's mum died when I was in my 20s, her Dad died about 2 months before her.
And where are they?
I don't actually know! All cremated and scattered I think, in crematorium gardens.
Are there plaques or stones in a wall or garden of remembrance?
I don't actually know.
I have no memory at all of either Mum or Dad going to Visit a Grave and Lay Flowers in Memory.
Is my family strange in this? I don't think so. Not in the Uk really. In the US/Canada/Australia there is more space for graves maybe, so those scenes you see in Hollywood movies of families visiting a big grassy area and a headstone are still happening...but I don't think so in the UK. Not so much anymore.
We cremate, scatter...and then remember only in our hearts.
When Okaasan dies....I am guessing Yujiro and his brother will be obliged to return her ashes to a temple in Kawagoe in Saitama (because the brothers may still be alive)...and then they will have to pay the temple to say prayers for a few years.
Us? He's already told me that he'd like his ashes scattered in the Klein Matterhorn mountain in Switzerland, so he can look at the Matterhorn for eternity..and I'd like to be scattered in any garden I am tending at the time when I die...or failing that...a river near my Dad's old house...or a mountain.