These shining lights continue to connect the centuries of culture & community The family gravestones go back so far the words are obscured / we wash (sometimes), light incense (Nag Champa in this case), clap and bow + bit of a conversation > In this case, namesake Grandfather Ichiro & Grandmother Tomiko’s ohaka / note: this “ohaka” has served as an important destination and part this year’s actions as documented in this archive.
Aug 19th was 49 days after Ryoko’s Grandmother Tomiko passed away at 94 years old, 6 days after baby Ichiro was born, and the night he was registered on the generational family register (koseki tohon) at city office with the same name (but different kanji characters) as her husband – Ichiro.￼
As such, in the Buddhist tradition, her ashes were put into the ohaka (crypt) with dashing Grandfather Ichiro who died at 49 years old, many decades ago.￼￼
Note: Throughout the pregnancy, we often visited grandpa Ichiro‘s ohaka (grave) as going to a cemetery it was easy to reduce risk while having a pleasant walk and while there, clean his grave, light incense and have a conversation.
In early July were four days of various funeral ritual/ceremonies at the house (adjusted for current health protocols) before she was cremated, and since then, her ashes sat at the family altar with daily incense, prayers and so on.
So as it goes, the remarkably handsome monk offered more incense and chants and led family in scripted prayers and incantations. Baby Ichiro rolled with it all.
Following, we took her ashes to the cemetery where a kindly tall specialist removed the capstone of the freshly cleaned ohaka allowing us to briefly see grandpa‘s urn, before adding the new jar & gently sealing back up.
Then we burned more incense, gave regards to other graves and left a lovely lunch to take her into the next journey.
Note: of course there’s more to share of the story (eventually, perhaps), and if you’re curious, see the wedding picture of grandpa Ichiro and grandma Tomiko, plus notes from Ichiro’s first month and an Ichiro card with her casket and his basket.
The circle is complete, the family continues, I’m very proud to be part of this clan.￼￼ We’ve had seven weeks of birth, death, (re)birthdays, and so much transition in real time.￼ i’m privileged to be a participant.
So very gratefully,
Ryoko’s mother’s family name is Fujii, not to be confused with Father’s family name Fujita.
Recently, paternal grandmother passed away, paternal grandfathers are both long passed.
In this case we visited Ohaka (grave) of Ichiro’s maternal great-grandfather (Ryoko’s grandfather obv) with the in-laws/parents to wash and clean, offer a prayer and introduce Ichi.
I don’t know much of his backstory – enough to riff at least – i’ll connect some more pieces for a later update for curiosity seekers.
Note: there is a panorama of the epically endless cemetery and massive crematorium (under expansion) plus family photos to include > this is a reminder to add at some point for posterity and whatnot.
Hanging out with ancestors and neighbours on a little photo walk (with a Lomo Diana 35mm and a Fuji Instamax) to the nearby cemetery to clean the grave and have a chat with old grandpa Ichiro – plus drop some coins for the kami to say thanks for the successful transport of items. ￼Come along won’t you.