Sunday, October 11, 2009

Hubby takes a trip down memory lane

As I wrote in the previous post, on 15th August, the last day of our trip to hubby’s ancestral home (jikka), we visited my late mother-in-law’s grave to offer our prayers, and also visited various schools where hubby studied and made a base for his future. In the evening we returned back to Akita. Today I will write about this day.

In the morning of 15th August, my father-in-law and his wife went to play golf with several relatives of hubby. Hubby stayed back home as he was tired due to playing golf the previous day in the hot and extreme humid weather of Aichi prefecture. I guess he got used to the cool weather of northern Japan where we live. Hubby and I got up rather late that morning. Later we prayed at the family altar at home to commemorate our ancestors and welcome the soul of my late mother-in-law and the spirits of all the ancestors, which is the purpose of Obon Buddhist event. Hubby lit incense sticks and read some sutras.
Family altar at home

Family altar

Hubby praying at the family altar

After having breakfast, hubby borrowed his father’s car and we moved around in Ichinomiya city the entire morning. First we visited my mother-in-law’s grave to offer our prayers. Hubby cleaned the gravestone with water, and then offered flowers and lit some incense sticks.
My late mother-in-law’s grave

Me praying at mother-in-law’s grave

Hubby standing near his mother’s grave

Next hubby took a trip down memory lane. Needless to say, I went along with him for the ride. We visited the hospital where he was born and also visited various schools where he studied. Hubby was rather excited to visit all these places. These places were near hubby’s jikka in Ichinomiya city itself. First we visited the hospital where hubby was born. Nomura hospital is a clean little hospital. Several decades ago it was a prominent hospital in my father-in-law’s neighborhood. There is a famous incident story amongst all the relatives that while my late mother-in-law gave birth at the hospital, my father-in-law was busy playing Mahjong and could not be contacted for several hours. My hubby is the first born child of my mother-in-law. She went into labor all of a sudden and had a difficult delivery. The doctor tried to ring up my father-in-law many times to inform him about the birth of a son. Apparently, my father-in-law did not hear the phone ring as he was very focused on playing Mahjong with friends and relatives. The doctor could finally contact my father-in-law after several hours. The doctor was very angry with him and scolded him a lot! I have heard this story from many relatives of hubby including my father-in-law himself!
Nomura hospital

Another view of Nomura hospital

After this, we visited various schools where hubby studied in his childhood. First let me briefly write about the school education system of Japan. Children enter yochien (kindergarten) school at age four for two years of education. Yochien education is not compulsory. Next the children enter first grade of shogakko (elementary school) at age six. There are six grades in elementary school. Chugakko (junior-high school) covers grades seven, eight, and nine, and 12 to 14-year-old children study in chugakko. Education in shogakko and chugakko is compulsory. Kotogakko (high school) covers grades ten to twelve, and 15 to 17-year-old children study in kotogakko. High school education is not compulsory, though 99% of junior-high school graduates enter high school.

Hubby wished to visit his yochien school but unfortunately the school does not exist anymore. So we went to see his elementary school. Hubby was very happy to see the shogakko he attended for six years. However, he was a bit surprised to see the school building as he thought it was much larger in size. Well all those years ago, the building might have looked large from the perspective of a 6-7 year old child.
Elementary school of hubby

Another view of elementary school

Playground of elementary school

Next, we visited the junior-high school that hubby attended for three years. He talked about many pleasant and naughty memories of the school-days.
Front gate of junior-high school of hubby

Backside gate of junior-high school

Playground and buildings of junior-high school

Buildings of junior-high school

Later we visited the high school that hubby attended for three years. The school was rather big with many buildings and a big playground.
Front gate of high school of hubby

Another view of high school

Side gate of high school

Playground and a building of high school

There was a twinkle and sparkle in hubby’s eyes when he talked about his high-school days. It was a pleasure to listen to his high-school memories. He had a close friends’ circle of five boys and whatever they did, they were always together in it. There were school and class excursions during his junior-high and high school days, and they often visited various castles to learn about the history of Japan. It seems that he and his friends would climb the walls of the castles like a samurai warrior and take photos for the sake of memory. Recently hubby showed me a photo of his school-days where he and his friends posed while climbing the wall of Himeji castle. Apparently he is still following and continuing the tradition of climbing the walls of the castles even after a few decades. A few months back hubby and I had been to Goryokaku fort in Hakodate city of Hokkaido. I was amazed at the swiftness with which hubby climbed the wall of the fort and told me to take a photo of him while he climbed the wall. Old habits die hard!
Hubby (first from left) at the age of 16 with his high school friends

Hubby (first from right) and his friends climbing the wall of Himeji castle at the age of 16

Hubby climbing the wall of Goryokaku fort in July 2009

While driving back from his high school towards jikka, hubby talked very enthusiastically about his passion for boxing sports during his high-school days. He was so much in love with the sports that he pasted the photo of Mike Tyson in the backside last page of his ‘gakusei techo’ (student diary) and wrote his own name in the diary as ‘Mike Kazuo Tyson’. He also wrote the name of Richie Giachetti as his guarantor as well as boxing trainer. It is really funny and amusing! He still keeps that diary and the front page photo of hubby when he was just 17 years old is so cute. Unfortunately he could not continue his passion for the sports and opted instead to go for higher education and eventually earned a Ph.D. degree in Physics, which is very different from his dream of becoming a professional boxer. Hubby is still very enthusiastic about the sports and just a few days back he practiced boxing with his cousin brother when we visited Tatsu-chan’s home. Time permitting he still practices boxing punches by using me as a sandbag!
Photo of hubby in his high school diary at the age of 17

Backside page of hubby’s high school diary

Hubby (right) practicing boxing with his cousin brother on August 13, 2009

After visiting hubby’s schools, we returned back to jikka. My father-in-law and his wife had also returned home after playing golf. It was almost 1 pm and we all went to a nearby Chinese restaurant to have lunch. After lunch we took rest at jikka for an hour or so. We were to return back to Akita in the evening by flight. At about 4 pm, my father-in-law gave us a ride up to Komaki airport. We reached the airport rather early and so hubby and I walked up to a nearby museum called Ichiro museum, where baseball goods of Ichiro Suzuki are on display. Ichiro is a famous Major League baseball outfielder for the Seattle Mariners whose hometown is in Aichi prefecture. Unfortunately, the museum was closed as it was already past 5 pm. We took several photos of the museum building.
Ichiro museum building

Another view of Ichiro museum building

Sign of ‘Office Ichiro’ in the museum building

Sign of ‘Exhibition room’ in the museum building

The flight to Akita was at 6.50 pm and we got a beautiful view of dusk above the clouds from the aero-plane window. We reached Akita airport at about 8 pm and reached our home by 9.30 pm. The Obon holidays were really nice for hubby and me.
View of dusk from the window of aero-plane


Kazuo Nagata said...

Pro-boxer ni naritakatta.

chts99 said...

Really very well-written blog. Best part was ur hubby's diary's page photo where his name was written as Mike Kazuo Tyson.

Manisha Kundu-Nagata said...

Yeah Kazuo, I know you wished to become a professional boxer. However, everything happens for a good reason as it in some way helped you to achieve what you are now doing professionally.

Manisha Kundu-Nagata said...

Thanks chts99 for your comment. Yeah, even I feel that hubby's diary page is really funny. Hubby still feels that he should have been a professional boxer and not a 'salary-man' :)