Thursday, July 22, 2010


While we were visiting Warren's dad and brother, we went to Japan Town in San Jose. We were to attend the Hatsubon service at the Buddhist Church. (Yes, it's a church, not a temple.) Part of the yearly Obon Festival, which celebrates the spirits of the deceased, Hatsubon commemorates the first anniversary of a loved one's passing. It's only been six months since Oba died, but they include all of those who passed away since the previous year's Obon. I was thrilled that this ceremony coincided with our visit since the boys and I didn't get to go to California and say goodbye to Oba (Warren's mom) in December. I had never been to a Buddhist Church either, and the boys had never been to church, period. Jiro was a little jacked up and I worried about his ability to sit still for over an hour. I encouraged him to take a nap on my lap and thankfully, he did. He slept through the whole service! Satchel sat quietly and listened intently. Everyone at the service had recently lost a loved once. While one priest chanted out a Buddhist prayer, another called out each deceased person's name and then the family members came to the front. When he called Oba's name, we all (minus the sleeping Jiro) got to go to the altar, bow, and drop incense into the burners. Warren's dad lit a candle and placed it in front of Oba's placard further up on the altar.

It was a really beautiful service and I liked hearing the priest tell us that even when someone dies they are always with us, because they help make us who we are. And we also realized that we weren't alone, since everyone there had lost someone.

After the service, we walked over to a Japanese restaurant that Oba liked and feasted in her honor. Unfortunately, we discovered the monkeys' dream restaurant, a ramen house, after we'd already eaten.

We did some walking around, but most of the shops were closed. Much to the monkeys' delight, we found a grocery store with a huge Japanese candy stash. We couldn't resist stocking up.

Jiro insisted that we get these mini hamburgers made of cookie and chocolate.

They're actually really good. I've had cookie/chocolate mushrooms by the same makers before.

They also, inexplicably, make cookie/chocolate tree stumps.

Is this dude a hippie or a lumberjack???

In America, "crunk" is a combination of crazy and drunk, or so I'm told. In Japan, it's a combo of crunchy and chunky.

I just bought these because they were cute. I don't know how I feel about eating someone's face though, so I mailed them to my house sitter in a care package.

Jiro said we had to keep these and I'm glad that he did, because they were yum. The tops were strawberry and they melted in our mouths.

Did anyone else hear the radio spot where NPR staffers tasted all of the Kit Kat flavors they make in Japan? Warren and I were very interested in the fact that candy companies there come up with new flavors so often. When I saw the banana Kit Kat, I had to get it. It was very banana-y. Very.

These were probably my favorite. I didn't know what they were until I tried them. They are the equivalent of chocolate covered gummies, which is awesome since I recently told Warren I thought that M&Ms should make a gummy flavor. (We became addicted to pretzel M&Ms on our drive west.) Jiro and I very much recommend that M&Ms steal these flavors.

Lastly we picked out a few gum flavors, since the monkeys love to chew gum around the clock. I only got to try the fizzy soda pop one and it was intense.

Overall, it was a very sweet day.

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