Tag Archives: tomiko

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!

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)

Ichiro: card #13 “generations” #Tomiko / 5.7

Ichiro: card #13 “generations” #Tomiko / 5.7

Ichiro Olson, card # 13
“Generations” / 5.7

The past few days we’ve witnessed a powerful transition of life as Ichiro’s great-grandmother Tomiko Fujita left this realm at 94 years old.

She is the widow of grandfather Ichiro who died over 4 decades ago at 49 years old. She passed a few hours after we formally registered the new lil Ichiro’s name at the City Office.

Her body went through the traditional Buddhist rituals in the house with monks, attendants, preparers and so on coming and going over 4 days with relics, artifacts, momentos, flowers, altars and so on / conducting prayers & chants plus bells, incense… all in the same tatami room where Ryoko & Ichi had rested hours before.

There’s more to say about this whole experience and the incredible dignity and respect and intention with which she was treated – but for now, I will say: as in the Buddhist consideration, her spirit lingers here for 40 some odd days after the body diminishes and feeling the life force transmitting between generations was undeniable.

PS watching my dear in-laws’ graceful tenacity during the scant days between dropping their daughter at clinic to give birth to baby coming home & settling in, then FiL’s mother passing & ceremonies… was a revelation of love.

See also: Ichiro and Tomiko’s wedding photo

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.

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