Monthly Archives: May 2006

Funeral 2

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     I came back home from the ceremony. I wept. I hadn’t shed tears for a long time, I thought. I feel that I was purified by the tear somehow.

     His face looked like sleeping. It’s hard to believe still now for me that he’s gone. He had been energetic until about 10 days ago. His baseball friends also attended the ceremony, and they spoke to him, who couldn’t reply any more. They spoke gently as if the man was still alive. None of them cried. They were smiled and spoke to him in a quiet.

     I feel an upsurge of emotion at all excitement of running around, meeting many people in the daytime, and of attending the funeral. I am about to weep.

     God gives all of us an equal gift.

  People are mortal.

     I don’t want to get the gift soon, though. I have many things I want to do still now. For the present, I need to feed! I forgot to eat. I haven’t eaten anything today. I have no appetite, though…I am alive.

 

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Funeral

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     Yesterday a man passed away. I noticed that from his daughter this morning. I am a manager of my apartment building this year, and he was the former manager. I took over his duties in the end of March.

     He was still young. I don’t know his age exactly though, I think he was in his 60’s or in the beginning of his 70’s. According to his daughter, he collapsed during a baseball game about 10 days ago. He had a coronary. He had fought for about 10 days in the ICU, but he breathed his last breath at last yesterday.

     As I wrote above, I’m a manager. So I was really busy today. I had to cancel my English lesson. After knowing the man’s dead, I ran around to inform everybody of the news, to arrange for a bus to take them to the ceremony hall, to give a phone call to the president of the residents’ association. Besides, I had another appointment to see a trader to let them estimate for mowing the area of my apartment this morning. While I was talking to the person in charge of the trader, I got many phone calls on the funeral.

     I didn’t know what to say when I met a son of the man. He resembled his father in his face.

     Here in Japan, there are many interesting customs. For example, people believe if you hold a funeral ceremony on a day called tomobiki, someone who is a friend of the dead will die soon. Tomobiki means a friend-pulling day. That’s why people avoid holding funerals on the day. According to the son, yesterday was the tomobiki, they have to have ceremony for three days. Usually, people hold a wake and a funeral ceremony. But this time, they have two wakes and a funeral.

     I have to prepare condolence money as a representative of my apartment. I hadn’t known that you had to bring something called osabishi-mimai in a wake and bring money in a funeral until today. People used to bring some sweets as osabishi-mimai in a wake, but recently people tend to bring cash instead. Of course, I found out it today! I went to buy some special envelopes for the money and a black clothing just before. And I went to my mother’s apartment and borrowed a Buddhist rosary.

     To tell the truth, it’ll my first time to attend a wake (a funeral) after becoming adult. I don’t know what to do at the ceremony hall! Anyway I’m leaving home soon to attend the ceremony.

 

New Shikoku Pilgrimage Place

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       After visiting the university forest of the University of Tokyo in Seto, I went to a mountain named Mikuni (701m) with other members. It has a camp site. Probably many families come and enjoy camping there in summer. On top of the mountain, there are many towers of antennas. I felt like being in an SF space station or something.

      I found an interesting thing on the mountain. It’s a miniature Shikoku Pilgrimage place. The name is New Shikoku Pilgrimage Place. Wow! In the real Shikoku Pilgrimage, people with white clothing, sedge hat and cane visit all 88 temples in the island of Shikoku on foot. They believe after making a pilgrimage, they’ll be happy. But recently, people seldom do it on foot; they use buses or cars instead. There are even many bus tours of the pilgrimage.

      In the miniature Shikoku Pilgrimage place on Mt. Mikuni, you can become happy even easier. There’re 88 small shrines which have each statue of Buddha. If you pray to all of them, you’ll be happy!

      Two of us started to pray, and the rest of us headed for an observation platform, where you can see 365°view. The people who got to the platform waited for the two prayers, having some sweets and seeing wonderful scenery. One of us asked the two if they wished for all of us when they arrived at the platform. One of them replied. “No way! I wished for just my family and myself. Praying is very hard, you know. It’s like doing squat!”

University Forest in Aichi of the University of Tokyo

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     On Tuesday of the 16th I visited the Akatsu Research Unit in University Forest in Aichi of the University of Tokyo. It’s located in the eastern area of Seto connected to the south slope of Mt.Sanage and to the north slope of Mt. Mikuni in Gifu Prefecture.

     The main subjects of research there are forest hydrology and erosion control engineering. In particular, the observation and analysis on rainfall and runoff from forested areas has been undertaken.

     About 80 years ago, the forest was deserted after mining ceramic clay and cutting down pine trees for firing ceramics. At that time, the area wasn’t a forest, but bare hills. But now the area has become a rich forest completely. However they haven’t plant anything. The forest recovered naturally in 80 years.

     The forest is getting bigger and bigger, the humidity is getting higher and higher, and the temperature is getting lower and lower in summer time there.

     The main tree was pine tree, but they have ceased to exist by nematodes and lack of the right to sunlight. So the main trees have started changing. If constituent trees change completely, it will affect other plants and creatures. It means us human-being also will be affected in the near future.

     I heard an interesting story about allelopathy there. Allelopathy is a phenomenon that the inhibition of growth in one species of plants by chemicals produced by another species, and it’s know among tall goldenrods and walnut trees.

     Tall goldenrods have conquered pampas grasses for a long time since they were brought to Japan. But recently tall goldenrods have decreased because allelopathy affects themselves. That’s why many colonies of pampas grasses are increasing all over Japan now. It’s interesting. There are many things I don’t know in this world.

Mori-no-oto

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     Today I went to see a picture painted by a friend of mine with other friends. The friend belongs to a painting club, and the club had had an exhibition since the beginning of this month until today at a café named Mori-no-oto (forest’s sound) in Nisshin.

     The café was very nice. It’s an old house surrounded many greens. It’s located near a hospital and a meadow. That’s why it’s very calm around there. Although they don’t have a variety of menus, it has a gallery. And it sometimes holds concerts. I decided today to come to a concert there with some of my friends next month.

      After appreciating paintings, I enjoyed chatting with friends over coffee. ( They have interesting blends of coffees: Tokyo Blend, Nagoya Blend and Italian Blend. I had a Nagoya Blend. That was nice.) I had a good time today.

 

*photo1: the café, photo2: my friend’s painting(fruits), photo3: her friend’s painting

Mother’s Day

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     Yesterday was Mother’s Day. I went to buy some flowers for my mother. I found an interesting flower at a flower shop the other day. I thought it was a green chestnut bur when I saw it at first. It wasn’t chestnut bur, but it was a carnation! Because I liked it very much, I asked a clerk to make a bouquet with some of the green carnations and some cute small pineapples.

     Of course, my mother was delighted at the bouquet very much. According to her, she’s been also interested in the green carnations and the small pineapples recently. Although I didn’t know, about the green carnations were introduced on some news programs on TV before Mother’s Day.

     After saying good-bye to my mother, I went to a marshy area. It’s a quite big park and has some ponds in it. I found lotus flowers to be in bloom on one of the ponds. Because I didn’t prepare for going to the marsh, I couldn’t go near the floors. But they were beautiful! Next time, I should wear rubber boots!

At a Junior High School

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     Sometimes the things I haven’t expected happen. I was sitting and having some tea in a Principal’s room at a junior high school yesterday afternoon somehow. While staying at the school, I was wondering why I was there.

     I accompanied a man, who is a nature conservationist, because he had a special class for the seventh grade students there. I helped him by taking photos during the class.

     Because the school is located near a big park in Nagoya, the students have many opportunities to observe there. The nature conservationist goes around many elementary schools and junior high schools in Nagoya, and teaches them about nature.

     The park has destroyed badly by the Expo last year, mainly for construction of parking lots. That Expo was a great success, and I myself enjoyed it very much. But people should restore to the original state after having fun. If it’s difficult to restore, we should try to preserve the present nature and to let it become better for the future. I don’t have a passion for the thought so much like other activists, though. I haven’t ever thought to join such a group before!

     That’s why God may make me join him…I’m going to be flown on the stream for a while…

     After his lecture, he asked the students, “What do you want now?” No one replied. A school teacher pointed some students. But the answers of all of them were the same. “I don’t want anything special.” The reason why the nature conservationist asked the question is that he wanted to introduce children’s voices in developing countries. And he wanted the students to understand how our country was rich and destroyed the nature of other countries.

     The students were very polite, but they weren’t lively…I was very sorry for that. I think teachers should teach students about the importance of saying own opinions.