Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Funeral Blues

I've just come back from a funeral in Kuroishi. One of my JTEs' wife died suddenly at the weekend from what I can only gather was an aneurism. I don't think she had any previous complaint so it must have come as an almighty shock for him and his family. The funeral was very interesting. Three monks came in chanting and burnt josticks in front of a huge bouquet of flowers (about 8m wide x 4m tall.) There were lots of those decorative gift displays that consist of say forty cans of beer and a few tins of fruit. Everybody wore black, literally everybody. That is, apart from me. I felt a bit of a plum walking in with a grey suit and a dark red tie, but, nonetheless, I think my JTE will appreciate the fact that I turned up. Everybody made an offering of money and handed it in at the beginning, the sum of which will probably only count for the cost of the ceremony, and after the monks had finished their initial chant, people came to the front from their seats to burn incense. My JTE stood in front of everybody and made a speech. He did really well not to break down halfway through if you consider the circumstances, though towards the end he did start to stall a little, which prompted lots of sobbing from the crowd. Poor bugger. I really do feel sorry for the guy.

Apart from that I've been taking it fairly easy: Monday, three classes. Today, another three. Tomorrow, perhaps two, I'll have to see what the senseis have got planned. For those of you who are interested, this is a picture of what I see half the time I'm at home.