My Private Oeshiki

Japanese Buddhist memorial services are festive events. Even though family members dress in funeral attire, the mood is never somber. Kids like it because they get to eat sweets before and after the temple service. Adults like it because it’s a mini family reunion with good food and drink. Buddhist […]

Buddhism - Japan Journal

Return of The Dragon

It was a very tough winter for the priests working at Keishin-in temple on the top of Shichimensan. There was so much heavy snow that it snapped the utility poles. Repairs couldn’t be done until the spring. Chief Priest Kochi Uchino described the scene. “We were without power and pumps […]

Japan Journal

The last Christmas card

After my mother died I took to writing Christmas cards to our family friends as I knew my dad wouldn’t keep up the tradition. Although I never liked sending Christmas cards in my youth, I found a strange enjoyment reaching out in mom’s place with bits of family news and […]

Japan Journal

Death Detergent

My partner used to get packages of vegetables from his mother’s vegetable patch in the summer, rice from the family rice fields (long since loaned out to other farmers) after harvest time in the fall. Up until his fisherman father died a few years back he used packages of dried […]

Buddhism - Japan Journal

Stolen Buddhas

The day after Christmas 2019, a priest noticed a broken temple door. Inside the hall one of the Buddhist altar statues, Many Treasures Buddha, was missing. The temple is deep in the hills of the Boso peninsula, accessed by a single narrow private road with a locked chain at the […]