Sunday, July 16, 2006

Nabeshima

Nabeshima is the street our house is on. It is actually a small block with many traditional houses. The streets are lined with tall bamboo plants, and dirt paved roads. At the end of the street is a hill, and if you stand at the top, you get a great view of all the surrounding mountains. Actually, I found out that many of the neighbors are in someway distant relatives of Ojichan.

Today my host father, Erika, I went down the street to the Nabeshima shrine. It is literally 30 seconds away, walking! It is very cool. At the small building there are many rememberance stones of family members who have passed away. I think it may be similar to a cemetery. From my observations, I have found out that Buddhists are very close to their family members who have since passed away. We went to a small grouping of stones that belonged to the Kai family, and we cleaned up the area's weeds. After that, I watched my host father and sister perform some practices that were uniquely Buddhist. They first poured water on the stones to clean them, but it happened in a special order, possibly in chronological order of their passing away. After that we lit incense, filled up a tea cup with water, and lit a candle at each stone for their family members. It was all very neat to watch. After that we went into the shrine to light more incense, give a monetary donation, and pay respects to another shrine. There is still much I have to discover about this religion, but I am happy I was able to witness and help out with today's activities. The pictures are of the street we live on (and my host father!), the shrine on our street, and me cleaning off the stones with water in a special order.

1 comment:

Scott B said...

Chris,
Just found out about you blog a couple of days ago...this thing is amazing! I saw your little bro at one of my "yakyuu" games last week with his arm still in a sling. It seems like every time I see him, some bone in his body is broken. I guess baseball in Japan is as popular as football here in the States with cheerleaders, packed bleachers, etc. Sorry this has nothing to do w/"Nabeshima" but I remembered you were still in Japan while watching "the fast and furious 3: Tokyo Drift."
-Scott B