September 24, 2006

Visit to the Cemetery, Later, Lunch at Big Boy

Yesterday was the Fall Equinox. It is a time when people visit cemeteries to clean their ancestral gravesites. Baba and Aunt had gathered everything together; clippers, flowers, incense, lighter, small broom, water bucket, scrub brushes, and garbage bags. Everyone went to the car. I grabbed an extra pair of clippers and the pruner. Last time we went, Baba asked us to prune the tree next to the gravestone.

I was the last one to the car. I noticed that no one had put a plate of salt outside the gate. As I got in, I asked about it, and seeing Baba and Aunt comfortably sitting in the car, I ran back to the house to prepare the dish. I put salt into a small bowl and then covered it with saran wrap. I left it on the wall outside the gate before getting back into the car. Baba said "thank you" many times.

The cemetery was crowded. People smiled and greeted us as we passed along the stone walk. Big Sister clipped the bushes and Little Brother scrubbed the stones. Baba sat in a folding chair. The kinmokusei was blooming so we didn't prune it. Papa lit a handful of incense and put it in the incense holder. Aunt forgot to bring an offering of Jiji's favorite tea. I'm sorry I couldn't take pictures at the cemetery. My family considers it taboo. (Find the post for August 29th and you can see a picture of a family plot behind a house. Click on the picture to enlarge it.)

We ate lunch out. Before going through the gate when we got home, Papa unwrapped the dish and threw salt on each of us. Baba then took the bowl and threw a pinch of salt on the front and back of him. When we went to the front door we saw that Aunt had left the keys in the lock! Good thing we have a gate that locks!

We went to Big Boy restaurant for lunch. When I was growing up in Texas, we had a Kip's Big Boy restaurant in my town.

Looks like the same Big Boy we had.

At many family restaurants here, there are sinks at the entrance for customers to wash their hands.

Instead of writing our order down, the waiter used this. He punched in codes for our orders and it figured it all out. They've had this device in Japan for at least 18 years.

I don't think you would see this at an American restaurant. Stacks of ashtrays.
I'll show you more pictures later.

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