Attending A Japanese Funeral
Considering the number of different cultures in the world, it makes sense that burial rites would vary. Here, a young Japanese who lives in the U.S. wrote about attending a Japanese funeral . Here's an interesting excerpt:
I find this to be the most interesting, if not the most disturbing part of a Japanese funeral. Maybe it's my western upbringing, or maybe everyone else also has their silent reservations about picking the bones of the dead. When we entered the private room, a large tray was waiting for us in the middle of the room holding the ashes of the body. While all the flesh, the entire casket, flowers, and most other contents had burned down to fine ash, the skeletal structure of the body was still intact and warm (you could feel the heat radiating from the tray). Looking carefully in the ashes, one could identify small nails from the casket or pieces of the watch that was burned with the body... The representative then handed out several pairs of mismatched chopsticks (one wood, one bamboo) for us to pick the bones to place inside the urn. If you ever wondered why it's taboo to eat with mismatched chopsticks, this is why. He instructed us to pick from the feet first so that the body will be upright in the urn. We each picked a bone, placed it in the urn, and then passed off the chopsticks to the next person.
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