Sunday, September 06, 2009

Meeting My Family In Tanba

08.27 Tamba-4
The view from one of the cemeteries

Obon is the traditional week when you go to see your extended family, pray at your grandparent's or parent's graves and just meet everyone and see how everything is going. It's much like Thanksgiving in the USA but it lasts a week. Since I was on my trip to Kyushu during half of that week and because Yuko was bust at work, we didn't have a chance to go see the family until Jizo-bon during the end of August which is the children's version of Obon. My mother-in-law, sister-in-law, Yuko and myself took a trip up to Tamba in the middle of Hyogo pref. where my relatives on Yuko's mom's side of the family lives. The whole family tree stuff is way too confusing, not just for me, but for Yuko also! I learned a few things.
  1. Yuko's great-great-great grandmother was married to her cousin. Not too uncommon actually. Cousin marrages are allowed in Japan.
  2. Late August is a great time to take photos. Such great colors.
  3. Heavy rain storms will really devastate rice fields (see photo below).
I also got to go up to two small cemeteries. I've seen many like them throughout Japan. Little cemeteries seem scattered almost everywhere hidden up on hillsides and in the small valleys. I've always wanted to walk around one, but never had the reason to do so. The city planner in me wonders how these are administrated and who pays for the upkeep.

My relatives have a little vegetable garden and some rice fields of their own. They gave us a 15kg bag of rice and some sweet potatoes when we left. I have to say the rice is great! So yummy! Their house is so big and traditional. I'd love to move out there, but I might go crazy. There are no stores. There son walks 40 minutes each way to get to school.

08.27 Tamba-6
The relative's house, those are onions in the foreground.

08.27 Tamba-7
The relative's shed and some lettuce.

08.27 Tamba-10
A rice field after a torrential rainstorm. This is the view from the front of my relative's house.

08.27 Tamba-9
Not yet ripened persimmons.

08.27 Tamba-5
A ranma 欄間 in my relative's house.


Tornadoes28 said...

All the little cemeteries always intrigued me as well. Some of the places they are located are really amazing.

Molly said...

That's really cool that you got to meet more family. They live in a gorgeous place. I've been really intrigued with the whole farming/gardening landscape lately. It's very refreshing for a city kid.

Anonymous said...

While I do know that cousin marriages are quite common in East Asia in the old days (2 generations or more back), isn't that frowned upon now?

David said...

As I said...

"Yuko's great-great-great grandmother was married to her cousin."

... It was at least two generations ago in my case. I can only guess that it's not very common now, but never the less still legal.

sixmats said...

I love going to the inaka. Did you find things there are still about 30 years behind?

David said...

Na, I don't think it's that far behind. They are only an hours drive to Kobe and down the street there's a YouMe Town shopping center with McDonald's and all that stuff.