Tag Archives: grave

Grandson Ichiro at Ohaka grave with Fujita Family

8 month old Ichiro Stanley Thorvald Olson visiting his great-grandpa Ichiro’s ohaka grave on the 48th anniversary of his passing. Great-grandmother Tomiko joined him last summer. It’s all about the cycles.

4 generations of Fujitas, more or less art Grandfather Ichiro and now Grandmother Tomiko’s ohaka (grave) short walk from our home in Tsuchida, Okayama. We cleaned the ohaka, lit incense, fresh flowers, clap clap, bow, bow etc.

Momma brought flowers from home (daffodils and irises I think) note: construction beginning behind

Memo: a fork in the spoons

Fujita family ohaka grave marker – our home is just beyond

Sometimes life’s circumstances create conundrums – a fork in the spoons, (he says, mixing metaphors). So when I need to sort the spork out, I come here, talk to the ancestors, do some walking meditation, light incense, wash graves and see if *the* path presents itself or, *a* path anyway, a *middle* path perhaps.

Note: I like to think about the stories behind the stones. And here in Japan, pour water on top of the graves, light incense – clap & bow.
PS in this case, this is grandpa Ichiro (died at 49 yrs old many years ago) and grandma Tomiko who died just after our Ichiro was born.
We’ve had a lot of wind storms recently so I like to tidy up their little area though I neglected to take some fresh flowers this time.

Our house is just behind the cemetery so you can kind of see the hills and green space behind us

Diary: Closing Circles with Stones ~ Grandmother to the Ohaka

Buddhist monk (handsome!) and me, Father-in-law Takushi, Mother-in-law Junkyo and wife Ryoko with baby Ichiro at Grandfather Ichiro’s ohaka / grave, now with Grandmother Tomiko

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.

Buddhist monk offering prayers/chants at family alcove/altar before taking ashes to ohaka

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. 

this smouldering incense was part of the ceremony at the house, pinch, put to forehead couple of times…

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.

the cemetery man opens up the ohaka crypt for first time tis century… (Father and Monk look on)

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.

 

the sealing sealing removed by hand…

Then we burned more incense, gave regards to other graves and left a lovely lunch to take her into the next journey.

special lunch to take Grandmother Tomiko onto the next part of 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.

wonderful mother in law at the cemetery, what a huge couple of months she’s had!

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,
daveo/UW

for a brief moment only, we could see Grandfather Ichiro and Grandmother Tomiko reunited in their urns, then was sealed back up… what a treasured experience!

Diary: Introducing Ichiro to maternal great-grandfather Fujii at Ohaka

photo on the ohaka (grave) of maternal great-grandfather Fujii

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. 

Memento: Rod H. Ash, Grave + Poem, 2017

On my birthday August 16, 2017, I found myself in Provo, Utah sleeping in yet another bed in which someone died. 

I try to forget about the day and it’s entirety, fiddled with assembling chapbooks as gifts, stamping inky thumbprints on them and giving them to folks who i pretend were pleased, and reading poems by Richard Brautigan.

Then the potter Marty Kendall and I went to see the grave of our dear pal Rod Howard Ash who passed away shortly before at an untimely age. I brought him a poem on vintage hotel letterhead written when I heard about his death wow meandering seas between the Suez. Somewhere in Aqaba or Olympia. (note: inspired a cycle of the “Items: Forgotten” series called “Time Traveller“). 

This marker was a temporary one, apparently is changed now. I think about this kind man all the time, so much style so much cool. Ugh. 

Worth noting a few months before, during memorial day weekend, we threw a party called “creepers and chums” as a tribute to him and my mother who well, also died.

PS Later that night we went to see Rod’s best pal Mikael Lewis perform and he sang a song we wrote about yet another dead pal Foster

Ichiro: 1 Month / 23.7.2020 (shrine, grave and various annotations)

July 23, 2020 Ichiro Stanley Thorvald Olson hit the one month mark since birth.

For the record: born June 23, 2020 (Reiwa 2), 16:24, Sun Clinic, Okayama, Japan, 3064 grams. 

As is tradition in Japan, we visited a Shinto shrine – though due to various safety concerns, we did not go to the originally planned shrine (Kibitsu jinja – map – we visited back in January before he was born) or Munetada jinja (where we were married which was our back up plan) – instead just stayed in the neighbourhood and went to the big Torii gate of Tenshin jinja with the parents (but did not climb the endless stairs to the top). Then… Clap clap bow bow say a few words to the kami and (of course) snap a few snaps (10 of which are compiled below). 

Then, as was the tradition throughout the pregnancy, we visited grandpa Ichiro’s grave to give it a clean, light incense, and have a conversation to him including introducing his a little namesake. This providing the opportunity to see 4 generations of the family legacy all at once (in a manner of speaking). PS Grandma Tomiko will be interred her on Aug. 19th. 

To be thorough, Ichiro’s name comes from a combination of his grandpa, Ryoko’s best university sensei (Hongo-sensei), and the desire to have a name which is familiar to western minds and emulates the cross-cultural excellence of the noted baseball player.

Then, my best pal and the fellow who made all of this possible by introducing Ryoko and I, the goat farmer Mac Kobayashi came over for a big sushi dinner and then hang out in the barn studio to listen to records (Built to Spill, Mudhoney, “Father” John Misty, Dan Mangan, Chet Baker…) which is a whole other story.

Anyhow, what follows are a few general notes about our wonderful little dude, basically annotations and observations from his first month. Continue reading Ichiro: 1 Month / 23.7.2020 (shrine, grave and various annotations)

Diary: Stroll to Grandpa Ichiro’s ohaka juuust before…

Ryoko gives Grandpa Ichiro’s grave a clean with a wooden ladle

{Catching up with…} evidence of a stroll on June 21st as we were waiting for baby Ichiro to make his appearance (he was “due” on the 18th but whatever) so, as we often have done during the pregnancy – and related timing of erstwhile pandemic – we took a stroll up to grandpa Ichiro’s grave here in Tsuchida neighbourhood in Okayama, Japan.

Lighting some incense at Grandpa Ichiro’s grave

While there, we give it a clean, fresh out the flowers, light some incense and have a conversation with him. In this case, mention if the baby was coming and if he has any pull in the situation, to keep an eye on us.

Thanking about grandpa dying at 49 and waiting here for so long
Ryoko has some words and thoughts for the Grandpa (who she never met)
2 days later, his namesake grandson was born and 10 days later, his widow Tomiko passed away (45 days from then, her ashes will be added to the ohaka)

Turns out, the walk was fortuitous as our wonderful baby came along healthy and happy on the 23rd and share his name with his grandpa (same pronunciation but different kanji characters – more on this another time). 

Probably our last snaphot as a family of just 2

Note: baby Ichiro was born 2 days later and Grandpa Ichiro’s widow Tomiko passed away on July 1st and after 45 days will join him in the ohaka. 

Memo: post updated July 17th from events on June 21st and back-dated.

See also:

Diary: Ryoko gardening (more) and visiting grave (again)

{Catching up with…} Yet another visit to grandpa Ichiro’s grave during the pregnancy + pandemic, plus get another photo of remarkable Ryoko gardening with her adorable baby belly. 

For both of us to stay *active* and centred through all the commotion and concerns of life, we often visited grandpa’s grave for a conversation.

Each morning as I lingered in bed, this intrepid arborist would get up and work on various garden projects, or in this case, cutting down bamboo in the forest behind the house.

Epilogue: Updated July 17 from events on and around May 2… This turned out to be a very significant part of bringing our little guy into the world as he bears the same man and, shortly afterwards, grandpa’s widow died at 94 years old.

Note: Both of these topics are covered elsewhere in this archive and desire to be considered supporting evidence of a really strange but wonderful spring time, as such,…

See also:

Diary: Stroll to the Cemetery in Tsuchida

Diary: Stroll to the Cemetery in Tsuchida

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. 

Ryoko at Grandpa Ichiro’s haka
Dave at Grandpa Ichiro’s grave
Changing flowers at Grandpa Ichiro’s grave
The graves go up and up and up…
Ryoko and family graves
photo of a photo of a grave
on the way home with baby inside
Buddhist shrine at cemetery
Fujita family ohaka

Diary: Days Before New Year’s Eve / Lead-up Activities + Goodnight Year of the Boar

Well, the days between Christmas and New Year’s aren’t really a thing per se in Japan as Christmas is just a reason for decor and music (as it should be at most) and all the build up is for New Year’s – this being my first “real” New Year’s in Japan, i just sorta held on for the ride… 

Anyhow, regardless, during this time, Ryoko and I were out and about for various events, errands, chores, adventures and whatnot – much of which is documented elsewhere in this archive and here are the pleasant mundane-ities which didn’t fit anywhere else – with minor annotations perhaps of “Japan Life”. 

Let’s begin with a few lunches and beverages – after a shop at a hardware store, we slipped into a little Yoshoku restaurant – sorta Japan remix of western dishes – this one sorta French but ya know, not really (and that’s not the point). Anyhow… had a sort of cutlet above and a pot of tea to follow. 

Another lunchtime, our relationship with pizza toast continued at home. 

And this seems absurd but the wonderful konbini stores can provide fresh ground/brewed coffee – i mean, it seems weird to say this but dang, not bad and well priced. That’s me in reflection (literally and metaphorically). Continue reading Diary: Days Before New Year’s Eve / Lead-up Activities + Goodnight Year of the Boar

Diary / Museum: Tea ceremony, PM Inukai house + grave & trains plus citrus fruits

One of these two is a former Prime Minister who was assassinated while his house guest Charlie Chaplin (also allegedly targeted in the assassination to – oddly enough – provoke the US into war) was at a sumo tournament. The other is a happy poet who loves small museums. 

Indeed, today (Dec. 15) was a tea ceremony at former PM Inukai Tsuyoshi’s house (he was assassinated by 11 young officers in 1930s during the chaotic military build-up period of Japan) here in Okayama. 

First off, went to the tea ceremony with our group including Mitsuko-san with whom i rode the fantastic local Uno bus to the station where Yano-san picked us up in his van along with our tea sensei Matsuki and we met Sachiko-san at the event. 

Ryoko was in charge of the wagashi (sweets) for the event. There is more to say about tea ceremony but suffice to say, there is a lot of preparation and intention but the actual event is rather brief and while calm, not necessarily solemn but rather jovial.

Continue reading Diary / Museum: Tea ceremony, PM Inukai house + grave & trains plus citrus fruits

Diary: Okayama Regular Life, spring-ish / ramen, friends, singing, coffees, shrine, farm, graves etc.

Dave visits a Café terrace at Night – at “the Market” for a special event (described below) – photo by Ryoko (van Gogh homage)

After all the friends came and went from the wedding festivities in April (including a hospital stay by one intrepid adventurer) and then the Emperor abdicated and new one enthroned, then we rambled through much of May to Toyama, Nagano, Niigata etc. seeing small museums, riding various trains, soaking in a few hot springs, visiting a few pals… oh then of course, doing all the paperwork and procedure for my zairyu card, national insurance and pension programs and setting up our little house with some 2nd hand furniture, a fresh shelf books and hooks and hangers… we set about just “normal life” here. 

Note: Indeed, indulged with a very practical maneouver to acquire a stack of books… this pile is primarily from Vancouver and Vancouver-related by Grant Lawrence, Aaron Chapman, Eve Lazarus, plus Marc Zegans and David Willis… i will document these and many others recently added to collection forthwith(ish). 

What follows are very mediocre snapshots to chronicle various normal-outings, non-events, day-to-day errands, and other otherwise insignificant actions. 

For the record, we live in Tsuchida neighbourhood outside of Okayama city (shi), the capital of Okayama prefecture (ken). A mix of old (pre-war) homes, new homes, rice fields. 20 mins by car or 30 minutes by the fantastic Uno Bus to Okayama Station. Easy to go to Kurashiki or Bizen or the inland sea

I’ve even tried to plant some garden boxes and various seeds for greens. Okaasan (mother) has a much better technique and diligence with gardening. 

Continue reading Diary: Okayama Regular Life, spring-ish / ramen, friends, singing, coffees, shrine, farm, graves etc.