Last Sunday, we all visted Soujiji Buddhist Temple to attend my grandfather’s houji (a Buddhist memorial service –image is from a typical houji, not ours) to commemorate the 17th year since his passing. At first we were a bit worried as to how Haruka would react to the ceremony, as it could be daunting, even to adults who have never attended a Buddhist ceremony. In a nut shell, it consists of a Buddhist high priest dressed in a very eloborate costume (which could look frightening to some children), who casts a very long and monotoned incantation, while the monks chant along and do a ceremonial dance. There’s also a lot of drumming of large drums and gongs which also be a bit daunting to some people.
I was a bit worried that the whole service would be a bit overwhelming to Haru, but in contrast, she seemed to enjoy the whole thing. I guess the elaborate costumes, and colorful red and gold decore of the temple itself kept her interests. At times I tried to set her on the floor (because she was getting a bit too heavy to carry), but then she would whine because she wanted to see what was going on. And the drumming and gongs seemed to interested her as well. It was funny too watch sometimes because she would bob her head backand forth in time with the drums, as if she were head-banging.
Afterwards, we all had a Japanese course lunch at restaurant near the temple. All of the kids were there except for Ren, who was out sick with his mom. Ren’s brother Shiyu, who looks like a little pro wrestler, definately stole the show. The way he eats his food is definately entertainment at its finest. He literally shovels his food into his mouth with both hands as if he were a starving child.
Karin, Haru’s other second cousin kept busy demonstrating her cuteness with the others, while Roi hung out with his mother and father and talked about possibly going to Atlanta this summer with his aunt Kanan to investigate some English language schools. Seems like I’ve heard this song before, but that’s a different story.
My wife and I spent the whole time taking turns watching Haru, as all she seem to want to do is practice her new standing skills, which she has gotten quite good at. On occasions, she’d get over confident and try to stand up without grabbing onto anything. In most cases, this leads to her falling on her face, which then leads to her crying until someone picks her up and conforts her.
Unfortunately Haruka is going through a phase of being a bit shy around strangers, and cries when she is picked up by someone she in not familar with. Therefore, she seems to have a hard time adjusting to my mother. This was the same with my wife’s father as well, but eventually she got use to him, so I think its just a matter of time. Strangely enough, Haru took to Kanan (who would be Haru’s first cousin once removed -we were tring to figure this out all day) really well, and didn’t cry while she was being held by her. My wife suspects that Haru has a hard time with people who wear glasses, since neither my wife nor I wear glasses, and my mom does.
It’s always nce to see relatives; I just wish it could happen more often and not just during new years or at my grandfather’s houji’s. Perhaps, as out kids get a bit older, we can all meet more often.
Pictures from Sunday’s events:
Playing with the utensil tray
Playing with her new laughing toy bear “Emi”, which she got from her grandmother.
Karin -Haru’s second cousin once removed, Roi and his parents in the background
Haru’s other second cousin, and the future heavy weight champion, Shiyu (yes he just turned 2 years old).