Monday, August 11, 2008


It is Obon here. Obon is the time of year that we welcome our ancestor's spirits back to "our world". Every year about this time, we visit our ancestor's graves, give it a good cleaning, pray and thank them for watching over us over the past year.

Some companies have the week off, but not Satoshi's. Many people return to their hometowns during their week off which is the cause for traffic jams and packed trains.

Since my FIL passed away this year, it is his first obon or hatsubon as they call it.

During this time of year, most of the priests are very busy. They go around to various congregation member's homes to pray for the member's ancestors. Yesterday, the priest from Sennyuji came to the house to pray for my FIL and our family ancestors. It was also the 17th memorial of my FIL's father's death, so we also had special prayers said for him also. This time not many relatives came, just us, BIL, MIL and FIL's younger sister.

It wasn't as stressful as the other memorial services. Since there were less people, there wasn't the need to serve lots of tea. On top of that, we didn't need to wear black. But that didn't mean you could wear hot pink or some bright color, we still had to dress subdued.

Satoshi's mom gave us some chagashi (sweets for tea). These are from Yuuzuki, a little wagashi (Japanese confection) shop down the street. I had seen them the two times we passed in the taxi on our way to the wake and funeral.

This is their usuyaki (literally thin bake). It is a thin wafer, like the ice cream cones that get soggy. And inside is a sugary cream. She gave us matcha and caramel.

Both were very good, not too sweet and the wafer very crisp.

Hope you have a great week.

64 Gotodamachi, Murasakinonishi
Kita-ku, Kyoto
Phone: 075.415.7088
Open 10:00-18:00
Closed Sundays


Anonymous said...

This is a great post. I loved learning about Obon and usuyaki - the way you described it was perfect, allowing even my western mind to grasp how it must taste.

It's beautiful the way you remembered your FIL.

K and S said...

Thanks Ari, I appreciate your kind words.

Take care.

2kamuela47 said...

I love obon season and the way to remember our ancestors that literally paved the way for all of us.

Those wafers look interesting, sort of a light dessert.

K and S said...

Thanks Laura, yes it is a great way to remember what our ancestors gave us :)

Take care.

Barbara said...

I think the Japanese have some wonderful ways of remembering those who have passed. Thank you for sharing Kat.

K and S said...

You are very welcome, Barbara :)

Take care.