I haven't been able to check out many blogs this past week, I'm very sorry for being a "bad blogger".
I jumped back into my work schedule after returning from Nagasaki...and I also had a job interview! Yes, I am currently hoping to get a job where I can use my English skills and previous experiences as a teacher and in book sales.
I did my best and if providence is willing I will have a second round of interviews later this month...
Let's see what happens!
Now, here is what I did in Nagasaki...again, apologies...I wasn't able to take very many photos.
It was raining when we reached Nagasaki last week. There is a famous song in Japan...
It was a bumpy flight sometimes but we had a smoooooth landing...
There was a very strange looking (and gigantic) bowl of noodles in the airport to greet us.
It was supposed to be a model of the local delicacy called "chanpon" but it looks nothing like the real thing!
Here is a picture of the real thing...the picture doesn't capture the actual deliciousness of the dish though...sorry!
It is a combination of Japanese and Chinese food.
There are many Chinese descendants living in Nagasaki and that is why a lot of the Buddhist ceremonies and other festivities in Nagasaki have a very China-like atmosphere.
For example usually cemeteries in Japan are quiet...but the first summer after a loved one has passed away, in Nagasaki cemeteries...do not be surprised if you hear a lot of people lighting firecrackers. The loud crackling sounds are supposed to scare off bad spirits.
Lots and lots of firecrackers!...this is from the Chinese culture that has become a part of Nagasaki.
(I'd show some pictures from 2 years ago, but I'm not sure everyone would be interested in seeing me in a dark cemetery lighted by an orange-ish flame...;-))
Speaking of flames....since it was raining most of the time that we were in Nagasaki and because our main purpose of being there was to "commemorate" the 2nd year after my father-in-law's death, we didn't go out much. So with the couple of hours of free time, I read some of my husband's old manga that he had in his room.
Hinotori (the Phoenix) by Tezuka Osamu.
All 5 episodes are set in different times but the main character, the Phoenix, appears in all of them.
I wanted to bring these back with us but our suitcase was full...so next time I will try to post more about this epic tale of life!
In Japan there are many memorial services that are tied in with both Shinto and Buddhist religions.
There is the "tsuya" = kind of like a wake
the shonanuka=a memorial after the seventh day of passing
the shijukunichi=a memorial after the 49th day
the isshuki= a year after
the sankaiki = "san" means 3, but in this term it is actually the second year after...
I know, VERY confusing.
This year was the "sanakaiki" memorial service, the second year since my father-in-law passed away.
We listened to a Buddhist monk chant for about 40 minutes. My mother-in-law, my husband and myself had front row seats. I could hear people getting restless in the back...
I used this extremely long chant to "meditate". I closed my eyes, held my buddhist beads (like Catholic rosaries) and concentrated on my father-in-law's smile.
If someone stands in front of you, or waves their hand in front of your face when you have your eyes closed...you can tell, can't you? You can feel their presence without having to open your eyes...
...I had my eyes closed but I KNEW someone ELSE was there, right in front of me. Unless, the Buddhist monk was doing an unexpected jig around us...
Of course I can't be sure, but I wasn't scared. I felt calm and rather peaceful.
After the chanting, our party of 23 people sat down to eat a huge lunch.
Some relatives stopped by my mother-in-laws home. I had to shuffle around in the kitchen to prepare things to eat and drink. I can't cook, at least not for relatives...and ordered chanpon and other dishes from a local restaurant. I did cut some fruit though! ;-)
(My own "story" reminds me of a book I am looking forward to reading that should be released sometime this September. It is by Marie Mutsuki Mockett and she has written a very interesting essay about Buddhist funerals and Japanese society. Please click here to read it.)
..and then the day we had to leave Nagasaki...it wasn't raining anymore!
...and from the car ride to the airport I was able to take a few pictures of the beautiful countryside.
There was a news article recently about how a researcher found that people who were in the area of the bombings still carry some radiation in their cells. However, since the bombs went off in the air and not on impact with the earth it is said that there is not enough radiation in the soil to be lethal.
The airport is an hours drive from Nagasaki City...in Omura City (Nagasaki Prefecture).
It is has recently been renovated! it is small but it's sparkly clean!
AND there is a new lounge!
This is what I saw from the lounge. You can see some of Omura City at the foot of the hills and the Omura Bay.
Before we boarded our plane back to Osaka, I noticed the green Nagasaki sign right behind our airplane.
It looks like our airplane is being sucked on by a huge elephant snout!
Hope you have a great weekend!