In Japan, period of mourning for a loved one is called Mochu. It is a solemn time. But in this personal tale, related by Seno sensei, you can find another side of Japanese culture and customs.You will surely be touched.

Japanese Mourning - Mochuu


By SENO Chiaki

Japanese Mourning





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私事(わたくしごと)で恐縮(きょうしゅく)ですが、 先月末(せんげつまつ)、父(ちち)が永眠(えいみん)しました

日本(にほん)では、身内(みうち)に不幸(ふこう)があった場合(ばあい)、残(のこ)された遺族(いぞく)は一定(いってい)の期間(きかん)、その死(し)を悼(いた)み喪 (も)に服(ふく)します。 この期間(きかん)を「喪中(もちゅう)」といいます。

喪中(もちゅう)については様々(さまざま)な考(かんが)え方(かた)があり、 明確(めいかく)な決(き)まりはありませんが、一般的(いっぱんてき)にはこの 期間(きかん)は結婚式(けっこんしき)やお正月(しょうがつ)のお祝(いわ)い ―飾(かざ)り・お節料理(せちりょうり)・初詣(はつもうで)・年賀状(ねんがじょう)など―のおめでたい行事(ぎょうじ)は控 (ひか)え、家(いえ)で慎(つつ)ましく過(す)ごします。年賀状(ねんが じょう)のかわりに、 11~12月(がつ)に「喪中(もちゅう)はがき」という挨拶状(あいさつじょう)を送(おく)って、自分(じぶん)の家(いえ)が喪中(もちゅう)であること を知(し)らせます。

我(わ)が家(や)は 喪中(もちゅう)なので、来年(らいねん)の年始(ねんし)は静(しず)かに過 (す)ごすのが普通(ふつう)だろうと思(おも)いますが、生前(せいぜん)の父(ちち)はお酒(さけ)を飲 (の)んで楽(たの)しくワイワイ騒(さわ)ぐのが大好(だいす)きでしたから、来年(らいねん)も家族(かぞく)・親戚(しんせき)みんなで集(あつ)まり、父(ちち)を偲(しの)んで、敢(あ)えて盛大(せいだい)に飲 (の)もうという計画(けいかく)があります。写真(しゃしん)の父(ちち)と、 おいしいお酒(さけ)を酌(く)み交(か)わすつもりです。

Japanese Mourning - Mochuu

If I may mention a private matter, last month my father passed away.

In Japan, when there has been a death in the family, the bereaved family goes into mourning for a specified period of time to lament the passing. This period is known as “Mochuu”.

There are many ways of thinking concerning “Mochuu”, and there are no clear rules but it is commonly regarded that during this period, the bereaved refrain from celebratory events like attending weddings or celebrating the New Year, with decorations, Osechi Ryouri (New Year cuisine) , the first shrine visit or sending and receiving New Year cards and instead spend the period modestly in the home. Instead of sending New Year cards, between November and December we send out “Mochuu hagaki”, which are greeting cards to let friends and acquaintances know that our family is now in mourning.

Our family is in mourning now so the start of next year would normally be spent quietly, but in life my father loved to drink alcohol and make merry, so next year my family and relatives plan to get together, buck tradition and drink up magnificently in loving memory of my father. We all plan to share a drink of delicious sake with father's picture.

私事で恐縮ですが If I may mention a private matter; I'm afraid in a very personal matter

永眠する  die; pass away; go to one's final rest

身内に不幸があった   there has been a death in one's family

喪に服す   go into mourning

~を控える   refrain, restrain oneself, keep (from)

慎ましく  modestly; frugally

~のかわりに   instead of...; as a substitute for...

我が家  one's home

生前  during one's lifetime; before one's death

ワイワイ   make merry; have noisy get-togethers

偲ぶ  remember; recall

敢えて~する   dare (to do)

酌み交わす   drink together; to help one another to

偲ぶ  remember; recall

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