Japanese Funeral Customs

There are lots of rules relate to japanese funeral. The ceremony has to be held on specefic day or must avoid certain days. Certain ceremonies must be held before certain day and so on.

Here is one that I think quite interestig.

After you vist your ancesor’s graveyard, on your way home, you must change the way. In other words, you shouldn’t take the same way that you took when you came. Otherwise you’ll bring someone who’s not belonging to this world to your home.

And….Don’t look back over your shoulder, even you are taking a different way. Maybe someone is still looking for you.

What’s inside a Teddy Bear?

In 2002, I was riding my bike along the Rhine river Germany in June bymyself. That day, I left Bonn in the later morning and inchng my way to Cologne. I knew that it’s not a long way to ride a bike to there, so I enjoyed riding my bike at a slow pace.

Suddenly, it started raining cats and dogs. There was no shelter around so I rode my bike so fast to find a place to escape.  In that desparate moment, I passed another guy like me on the bike but I wasn’t paying attension to him. Soon, it stopped raining and I was almost at the city limt of Cologne. After the rain, I remember there were so many slugs crawling on the bike road and they were so yuky. I maneuvered not to ride through them and that time, I already entered Cologne.

After one hour ride, I was able to check in at the youth hostel in Cologne and started unpacking and hanging my wet T shirt and socks to dry in my dormitory.

Half an hour later, one Asian looking guy entered into my dormitory with a large backpack. He looked at me for a second and suddenly asked “Are you Japanese?” I said “Yes” then he asked “You passed me by bike earlier” I was not sure but I thought I saw him before entering Cologne, so I answered “Oh, that was you! What a coinsidence that two Japanese guys were riding bikes on the same day to the same distination!” We shook hand and introduced each other.

That night, we had dinner together. We talked a lot because both of us wanted and missed  speaking Japanese at that time. We were both backpacker from Tokyo area Japan and just started traveling Europe by bike. He was solo traveler that time but he was going to see his Japanese girlfriend coimng to France in three months.

He showed his little knitted teddy bear kind of like a lucky charm.  He said” My girlfriend gave this to me at the airport” I said “that’s good” He added “She said please have this with me and when I feel lonley see this and feel her” I said “That’s so sweet of her” he continued” lastly she said if I had really really big trouble that can’t do anything bymyself, open this teddy bear and see what’s inside” He passed his little bear to me. It was a cute littele knitted bear but I could feel something hard inside and back of it there was a part that someone obviously put something from there and stiched back. I asked with full of curiosity “You want to open it? ” He said”No, I’m not going to open it and hope I will not have to open it until I see her in France” I said “Why not? If I were you I would have opened on my first day” but he insisted that this is their promise and better not opening it. “I guess it’s…… money….? sort of emergency money!” he said “She is not that kind of person. I’m sure it’s not money” I was so curious to know what’s inside” Let’s open it!” he said”definitely no” he looked serious about it, so I stopped teaseing him and changed the topic.

We traveled togeter after all for a month. I concluded that he can’t be my best friend because of his personality but it was really interesting to spend some time with him. We had lots of weired incidents and happenings but luckly or not he didn’t have to open his teddy bear for help. We parted at Amsterdam. He went down to France to see his girlfrind and we promised to see each other in Tokyo in the future.

The next year, I was somehow able to contact and see him again back in Tokyo. We talked about our trip in Europe and his trip with his girlfriend after words. A couple of hours passed quickly and we decided to go home. His direction was opposite so I said see you again to him but I knew that I won’t see him again. Suddenly, I remembered, last question to him.

“Hey! Do you remember your teddy bear? Did you open it?”

“Off course not!

Write a new story in English or Japanese?

Thank you for reading my blog everytime. This time, I am not going to write about Japanese stories but I want to ask my readers about blogging or writing stories.

I haven’t published new posts for a long time. Yes, I’ve been busy creating weekly podcast in Japanese or I was busy with my kid’s stuff.  I can say many excuses but I was always wanting to write more stories.

As you know, English is not my first language and my wife always helped correcting my errors in writing. That was good to obtain some qualities in my writing but it always took long time to publish one story. I wish I could write more casually like I write things in Japanese. To tell you the truth, I have over 40 drafts about Japanese stories but none of them were published yet. I hope I can publish them all some day.

Actually, I finished writing one long story about 6 months ago in Japanese. I am satisfied with the plot and I want to share this story with other people through my blog. I have been thinking that I should translate this in English but I had no time to do so.

In this case, should I write this story in Japanese using blog format? If so can wordpress translate Japanese in English?

I need your opinion!

Thank you.

 

Dog’s Fourth Leg

In ancient times, there were 8 million gods (Yaoyorozu no kami) in Japan.

At that time, there were dogs that looked the same that we can see now but they only had three legs. That’s how they were designed for some reason. Of couse it was awkward to walk and run.

One day, one dog begged to one of 8 million gods to give them a fourth leg.

The god understood the circumstance and started thinking.

“I can give you a fourth leg but I have to subtract it from something else. What will it be? A thing which already has an extra leg.”

He looked at a censer at the corner of his prayer room. “This is it!”

He pulled one leg from the censer and attached it to the dog. “Hmm, both look good!”

That is why censers only have three legs and dogs have four legs.

Dogs are still care of the fourth leg from the god and when they pee they lift the leg try not to wet.

88 Souls in Rice

When I was a kid, my grandma would often sternly say, “Eat every single grain of rice in your bowl. Don’t leave any of them.” I would look into my rice bowl and see two or three grains stuck to the sides.

It was difficult to pick up a grain of rice with chopsticks when I was little. I also didn’t care. I just wanted to finish my meal and watch TV.

I also hated to have my rice bowl checked by grandma. One day I had to ask. “What’s the matter with leaving one grain of rice, grandma?” Continue reading