Goodbye Ishida San Part 2 (2009-04-30)

When we arrived back at the cottage where the funeral was held, the room had already been converted into a dining room with a long white table in the center and bento sets neatly laid on it; a small table was placed across the top on which were Ishida-san's picture, the urn and his special bento.  But before we could enter the building, we had to clean our hands with a wet towelette handed to us by a staff.

After everyone was seated, Ishida-san's son gave a short thank you speech before the meal commenced.  Then we began our lunch by downing a toast with a small cup of sake (we all said Kanpai)!  The bento was fairly simple consisting of vegetables and seafood.  As the meal progressed, everyone started to relax.  People got up to mill around the room, socialized with each other, laughed heartily, and some even started taking pictures of each other.  At that point, I felt like I was in a celebratory event rather than a wake!  There was no gloom and grief that I could sense, as if we weren't mourning the passing of Ishida-san, we were celebrating his entry into a second life.  And I'm all for that!

We lingered till about 1pm and started moving into my friend's apartment around the corner.  The "party" continued there and people relaxed even more.  Most people changed out of their formal clothes, alcohol and drinks were served, the fruit and canned fruit baskets were taken apart and divvied up for guests to take home (just like in a Chinese wedding when relatives get leftover food from the banquet to take home), and most importantly, a shrine was set up for Ishida-san.  His ashes would be displayed for 49 days before it's buried.

I left the apartment just past 2pm with a couple other guests who had to leave, so I could catch a ride with them in a taxi back to the station that my friend paid for.  I arrived at the funeral empty-handed (I have no unadorned black handbag that I can use in a funeral), but I went home with two bags of goodies. (^_^!)

R.I.P. Ishida-san.  You will be missed.

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