Journal from Japan Trip
November 4–10, 2002
by Reiko Fujii
At 9:00 a.m. Aunt Fumiko, Mom, Dad, Bob, and other family members, along with our good friends Pat Mayo and Sambodh, left Nara to take a two and a half hour train ride to Susami. While eating a delicious obento (Japanese lunch) on the train, I looked out at the passing rice paddies. Raindrops started to splatter on the windows as we whizzed by. I had heard we might be encountering a wet weekend.
After warm greetings from my cousins, who met us at the tiny Susami train station, we climbed into three cars, two of which went directly up the mountain to a cemetery in Samoto. My father’s mother grew up in this mountain farming village about a hundred years ago.
In pouring rain, we climbed the slippery, uneven stone steps up the side of the mountain to the top of the cemetery, where my father’s mother’s ancestors were buried. We offered flowers and paid our respects, then walked down the treacherous steps back to the cars. I wanted to wear the kimono in the cemetery, but the rain, the weight of the kimono, and the number of slippery stairs seemed a barrier. Everyone encouraged me to wear it in spite of these imagined obstacles.