Thousands of Miles from Home


Day Off

Higan is the week long period of Buddhist memorial services held twice a year, centuring on the vernal and autumnnal equinoxes. One characteristic of Japanese Buddhism is its close ties with ancestor worship. The middle day of each each Higan, Shumbun no hi (spring equinox) and Shubun no hi (autumn equinox) is a national holiday. At Higan, the whole family pays visit to the ancestors' grave.

Today Masatoshi, Shoko, Shun, and I went to Tamashima to visit Masatoshi's parents and the grave that is near their house. We brought flowers, and when we arrived the whole family went to the small graveyard between houses to light incense and place flowers and rice at the Watanabe family grave. After, I talked with Masatoshi's family for a while. Their house was small, but had a wonderful japanese garden and courtyard outside their house. They gave us some grapes and other fruit to take with us, and we left to visit Masatoshi's aunt. Her house was larger, but she also had a lovely yard which my mom would have enjoyed.

After visiting the family, we went to Shun's old english teacher's house in Kurashiki, where he lives with his wife and two children. He is origionally from Boulder, Colorado, and his wife is from a town very close to WV, so he had been to Morgantown before. I painted some dinosaur figurines with his kids (they did most of the painting) and we had some dinner. His wife made rasberry chocolates for dessert.

I forgot to mention that in calculus class no one uses calculators. Even when calculating derivatives, integrals, and rotations, everything is done by hand. I think all math classes are operated in this fashion. Also, when I went to Takamatsu by ferry, I was in a building where two of the Iron Chef's restaurants are located (Iron Chef Japanese and Iron Chef Chinese). Shoko said that she ate there with Miyu and Mai and for lunchtime it's not too expensive. I told her about the psuedo-cult following that Iron Chef had earned in America and she said that a few years ago it was very popular. I would consider it an honor to eat there :]

And since you've been good, another video:
Karaoke at the school festival


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